Exit Cooper Marody

Exit Cooper Marody Comment Count

Brian April 8th, 2018 at 1:43 PM


[Ryan McLoughlin]

The writing was on the wall for this as soon as Edmonton traded for Marody's rights earlier this year:

Even though his departure was more or less expected, Marody is a big loss for a team that now loses its entire top line and often struggled to put up points with 2-4. Michigan's incoming class is large and old but might not have many instant impact guys to pick up the slack; M will be banking on roster-wide improvements to maintain their scoring punch.


Hockey Preview: Notre Dame, Frozen Four

Hockey Preview: Notre Dame, Frozen Four Comment Count

Brian April 5th, 2018 at 3:47 PM

Screen_shot_2010-04-30_at_12.46.06_AMTHE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #7 Michigan (22-14-3) vs
#2 Notre Dame(25-9-2)
WHERE Ann Arbor Elder Law Center           
St. Paul, MN
WHEN 9:30 PM
LINE Notre Dame 67% (KRACH)

we hateses rapping hobbits  


Michigan's opponent is an extremely familiar one: Notre Dame. The teams split the season series 2-2, with an early January Notre Dame sweep followed by Michigan's mid-February riposte. The first series saw Michigan play the then-#1 team in the country dead even, setting up their second half run. The second took Michigan's chances for a tourney bid from distantly possible to all but assured.

One thing this game is certain to be is tight. Tight checking, tight on the scoreboard, tight-sphinctered. Three of the four games were decided by one goal; the fourth was a 4-2 win at Yost. Shot totals from the four games were similarly narrow. After Michigan outshot ND 36-27 in the first game it was a dead heat the rest of the way: 34-36, 36-36, 37-35.  There was only a bit more wobble in shot attempts, with two very even games and one decisive win by each team. Michigan had a very slight edge in attempts from the house per Dave's charting.

Might be worth noting that Michigan was missing Josh Norris and Quinn Hughes from the first of the four games, as both were coming off the WJCs. Adding them did not give Michigan a decisive advantage—the game they missed was in fact Michigan's best from a shot perspective—but this Hughes is not that Hughes.


during game action between University of Notre Dame vs Michigan State University at Compton Family Arena in South Bend, Indiana

man playing hockey

Notre Dame is a relentlessly disciplined outfit that relies more on structure and reliability than pew-pew lasers. They've split their top two scorers across two lines, which has been a positive for Michigan since their second unit of Norris-Slaker-Warren is a bunch of two-way players that Michigan sought to match against the Greenway/Tkachuk monster line BU put out.

Top scorer Jake Evans, a senior and 7th round pick, has 11-31-42 on the year. This scouting report on Evans from before last year's Frozen Four is also Notre Dame in a nutshell:

Jake Evans, Jr., C - It takes watching the Montreal Canadiens prospect in all three zones to truly appreciate the impact he has on a game. His 13 goals and 28 assists for 41 points ranks third on the Irish, but it's his complete play as a two-way center that makes him truly special. He is good on draws and responsible throughout the 200 feet of the ice sheet. He does a terrific job of engaging, lifting sticks and disrupting shooting and passing lanes. He is very hard to play against.

He's flanked by sophomore Cam Morrison (8-13-21, second round pick) and freshman Colin Theisen (6-13-19); Morrison is a power forward type who hasn't quite been the scorer ND probably hoped he'd be after a USHL PPG as a 17-year-old.

Line 1A features Cal Burke (13-12-25), the only ND player with double-digit even strength goals, and Andrew Oglevie (13-23-36), their top PP scorer and leading shooter amongst forwards. Dylan Malmquist is an infrequent shooter benefiting from some puck luck to get up to 9-10-19.

It gets thin for ND after their top two lines; the third line has one guy with double-digit points on the season, and the fourth line is actually two guys you'll probably see for five minutes tops; ND has dressed 7 defensemen for most of the season.

As you might imagine for a defensively oriented team, ND's blue line is excellent. Senior Jordan Gross (10-18-28) picks up a bunch of the slack that the middling forward corps leaves when it comes to scoring; while he's not super-dynamic he's got an excellent, accurate point shot and picks his spots well. Andrew Peeke, Matt Hellickson, and Dennis Gilbert are all draftees, and junior Bobby Nardella has an impressive 5-19-24 line.

Taking advantage of scanty opportunities will be crucial, whether that's a power play or an incredibly rare odd-man rush. That goes for both teams. There aren't going to be a lot of Grade A chances out there.


"Stay out of the box" remains so imperative that you might as well get it tattooed on the inside of your eyelids. ND's power play is 10th nationally at 23%, which is bad for Michigan's #57 penalty kill. On the bright side, ND-Michigan games were relatively clean this year. Michigan averaged three (attempted) kills per game instead of the 4 they averaged across the season. Playoff hockey tends to depress calls, which helped Michigan as they faced just four PPs in the regionals.

The other bright reason why "stay out of the box" is so imperative: Notre Dame has just one even strength goal against Michigan this year. Their shooting percentage almost doubles from 7.7 to 14.2 when they get on the power play.

The other side of the coin isn't much more encouraging: ND's penalty kill keeps the puck out of the net 89% of the time, which is second nationally. The disparity is so big here that Michigan getting hauled down without a call early might actually be a good sign if it signals that the whistles will be rare. As much 5v5 as possible, thanks.


Cale Morris leads the country with a .945 save percentage, so they've got that going for them. Morris is undrafted, got just one game a year ago, and had a .906 in his final year in the USHL, so maybe that's more about the team around him than his talent level?


Stay out of the box! ND isn't as good on the power play as Northeastern but the gap between their scoring rates is probably similar. ND struggles to put up goals at even strength, particularly against this Michigan team.

Quinn, again. Quinn Hughes is by far the best player at this Frozen Four and his ability to jet into the zone and break up the usual monotony of cycling on the boards in the least threatening part of the offensive zone is a crucial advantage Michigan has over an ND team that's extremely adept at forcing dump-ins and making it hard to generate scoring opportunities afterwards. Hughes is now playing 25-30 minutes, during which Michigan should be killing it 5v5.

Hope ND's slide continues. ND's desire to win 2-1 every game worked out great until a couple months ago, when they started dropping a bunch of games. Since that Michigan series in early January ND finished the regular season 5-6-1; while they've gotten back on track in the postseason, their four wins have all been by one goal, two of them in overtime, in games that were dead even by shots. That 67% above from KRACH is bunk, I say.


are stupid


WTKA Roundtable 4/5/2018: We Don’t Do Cups, Coach

WTKA Roundtable 4/5/2018: We Don’t Do Cups, Coach Comment Count

Seth April 5th, 2018 at 11:30 AM


Things discussed:

  • They ran into a buzzsaw. DiVincenzo reminds us of Clay Thompson.
  • It should have been a game but wasn’t a game because Michigan couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn. Someone on that team was going to erupt—someone on ours had to.
  • They needed a 40% shooting game to win this, 30% to be in this. That’s not too much to ask for—make their season average and that’s another 12 points.
  • The defense was fine—they made Villanova shoot hard shots for all of their points; Nova just happened to make their shots.
  • Will you see another Glen Rice? He was ahead of his time—the three was considered unmanly and stupid.
  • Could you tell me in November that this hockey team could have been a two seed?
  • ND has just one even strength goal against Michigan in four games.
  • Quinn Hughes is blowing up into a Hobey-level guy, his brother might accelerate and play a year at Michigan before being the top overall pick in the draft.
  • Mel calling out Brian for calling out Mel’s penalty kill.
  • Notre Dame is a very disciplined team but nobody in this Frozen Four is good enough that hockey plinko isn’t in effect.
  • Michigan dominated Ohio State in both recent matchups except in puck luck.
  • How college hockey recruiting has changed: Snake oil was a real thing in college hockey for a long time. Coaches learned to steal each others’ guys but Mel’s not going to put up with gentleman’s agreements, living with the reality of the Canadian juniors. Have to be aggressive down the road because half your class will drift off to OHL/QMHL/JJJoJoCHL/NHL.


You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Podbean.

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.


And anybody who’s seen one hockey game in their entire life—except for one Michigan player apparently—knows that of all the sports the one that most demands the cup is hockey. Can you imagine what went through Mel’s mind when he heard this? Like he’s walking into a new program like ‘alright we’re going to really improve here, what is the current state of our roster?’


MGoPodcast 4.24 Supplemental: The Hockeycast

MGoPodcast 4.24 Supplemental: The Hockeycast Comment Count

Seth March 28th, 2018 at 10:30 AM

1 hour and 15 minutes


Trying something new here: David Nasternak hosts a special hockey edition with Anthony Ciatti. If you’re late to the party here’s your chance to meet the team and where they’re going. Let us know if you’d like more of these in the future.

Recorded at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown in the Notre Dame room, which is the safest room in the building because Rutgers doesn't play the sport that Notre Dame plays in the Big Ten.

We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other

We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan there would be VERY long hiatuses between podcasts.

Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, Lantana Hummus and Ecotelligent Homes


1. Boston University

starts at 1:00

Exceeded our best hopes by ten pairwise spots. Tighter than the 6-3 score, weird bounces, Michigan hung on with two really good goals. Weird to see Michigan less talented than an opponent, though it wasn’t by that much. Except for an amazing play by a guy literally already in the NHL this morning Mel was able to scheme these guys out of the middle. Weird BU coaching: left their best power play weapon off special teams.

2. Northeastern

starts at 19:00

If we had to pick one team not to play in the first round it would have been them or Duluth. Swallowed whistles of playoffs helped neutralize that power play but the real difference was using Hughes to control possession against that top line. Michigan outplayed them 5-on-5 so that PK time was a big deal. Very impressed with Primeau’s son versus Michigan’s onslaught.

3. How Did We Get Here?

starts at 32:31

Mel Pearson with the best first-year coaching job at Michigan since 1969. Started the season behind Michigan State, broke out after the break despite losing Will Lockwood. The more time Mel got with the defense the less leaky they became, helped that Lavigne locked down the starting spot in net—they can practice to emphasize his hugeness. Underrated moment for this year: the Pastujov line coming together to provide a solid third line—Michigan has its lower lines for 2-3 more years! Norris playing a defensive role despite being a 1st rounder is a huge value for this team. Slaker really came along too. Mel doesn’t ask guys to do things who don’t have those skills.

4. Frozen Four Preview

starts at 50:56

Notre Dame: every game has been the same, Michigan barely surviving but proving they’re similarly talented—ND is just many more years into their Mel transition. Jeff Jackson might be one of the best coaches in college hockey history and is still at his peak over a decade into his last job. Giving him two weeks to prepare for this is not great. ND not a behemoth this year—not more talented than M in terms of draft picks, etc. Great goalie, but stay out of the box and play five-on-five.

Minn-Duluth had to play through injuries and five players at the Juniors so they’re really good when they’re together. Duluth will have home ice. They’re like Notre Dame with more offensive talent, and older, and with NoDak’s fans. Excellent on special teams. Not really rivals in hockey but want to slay this dragon.



  • “NHL on ESPN Theme”
  • “Hartford Whalers Song”—Brass Bonanza
  • “NHL 94 (Genesis) Intro Theme”
  • “Across 110th Street”





Hockey Preview: Northeastern, NCAA Tournament

Hockey Preview: Northeastern, NCAA Tournament Comment Count

Brian March 23rd, 2018 at 4:49 PM

northeastern-rankingsTHE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #8 Michigan (20-14-3) vs
#9 Northeastern (23-9-5)
WHERE Alumni Association Of The University Of Michigan Center
Worchester, MA      
WHEN 4:30 PM Saturday
LINE Michigan 52% (KRACH)

they're actually #9


Hello. It's tournament time. Hockey tournament time. If you don't recall what this is like, jump out of a plane with a backpack that might contain a giant middle finger instead of a parachute. Eat fugu prepared by a squeaky-voiced teenager. Play Plinko for your soul.

The team is not just happy to be here, I'm sure, but I am. Michigan was 8-10-2 halfway through the season and I was not even bothering to check their Pairwise; a 12-4-1 run later and Michigan isn't just in the tournament but a two seed. Managing that without second round pick Will Lockwood is all the more impressive.

Michigan's special teams are terrible and they're not exactly puck-dominant yet and Kyle Connor isn't walking through that door, but they're here and this tourney is dumb and this year that's the way we like it. So bring on the bouncing pucks and 24-year-old sophomores. Let's go.


This is already a banner season for Northeastern what with the Huskies' first Beanpot win in 30 years and only their sixth tourney bid in program history. They've done it on the back of an explosive top line and killer power play; the 1,000 foot view here is that Michigan is playing a doppleganger of the Motte-Compher-Connor team from a couple years back.

Top scorer and Hobey favorite Adam Gaudette even has a certain Kyle Connor air about him:

Those power play goals from an absurd angle are very Connor. Both players have the ability to lift the puck even while in tight and can get a one-timer off in virtually any situation. Gaudette's 30-30-60 in 37 games isn't quite Connor's 35-36-71 in 38, but it's… uh… not bad.

Pairing Gaudette with a Hensick-esque puck wizard in Dylan Sikura

…is a good time. The third member of Northeastern's big line, Nolan Stevens, isn't as explosive but still put up a 24-17-41 line. These guys are assassins on the power play, with 35 of Northwestern's 43 PP goals on the season. They are essentially 100% responsible for Northeastern's PP's 27% success rate, which is third nationally.

That power play is a huge threat and is likely to be the reason Michigan loses this game, if they do. But if Michigan can either stay out of the box or miraculously survive multiple PPs unscathed, they should have an advantage 5v5. Michigan's top line of Calderone-Marody-Dancs has just six fewer even strength goals than Northeastern's assassins; the Huskies have been outshot in half their games this year and are below 50% in Corsi; KRACH greatly prefers Michigan's schedule strength (13th vs 36th).

Northeastern doesn't get a ton from their lines 2-4. Freshman Zach Solow has a 5-21-26 line built largely on six points in a season-opening series against Sacred Heart and his status as the fifth guy on the top PP unit. He has seven points on the season that were even strength and not against Atlantic hockey. From there scoring falls off into the 0.5 PPG range. Lines two and three have a lot of 5-8-13 seasons and the like. Michigan should have an advantage there when the Slaker line is on the ice.

On defense, Jeremy Davies is a puck-mover who is the lone D on the top PP. He's got a 6-28-34 line; the other notable guy is sophomore Ryan Shea, who was a fourth-round pick in 2015.


Double whammy here as Northeastern's goalie has an edge on Hayden Lavigne. Also he's Keith Primeau's son, making some of us feel very old. Cayden Primeau has a .932 save percentage, which is significantly better than Lavigne's .910. The matchup is closer at even strength, where Lavigne has a .925 to Primeau's .936.




Unleash Quinn Hughes. Hughes has emerged into the kind of player who can dominate a game, and it's safe to say Northeastern hasn't seen anything like him this year, because nobody has. Hughes coulda shoulda won the Ohio State game but rang the bar twice and narrowly missed another goal. Michigan's players are fairly prosaic outside of Hughes and he's the best shot at unlocking a team that doesn't give up a ton of goals.



are stupid


Michigan Hockey Earns Two-Seed, Draws Northeastern In First Round

Michigan Hockey Earns Two-Seed, Draws Northeastern In First Round Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 19th, 2018 at 10:15 AM


Michigan will get to do this 719 miles from home [Bill Rapai]

The pundits preached patience before the season, but what was supposed to take a few seasons took just one: Mel Pearson and his staff have guided Michigan to an NCAA tournament berth in their first season behind the bench. The appearance will be Michigan’s second in the last six seasons.

Michigan drew the two-seed in the Northeast Regional and will face three-seed Northeastern on Saturday, March 24th at 4:30 PM in Worchester, MA. You can catch it live on ESPNews

Northeastern is Pairwise’s highest-ranked three-seed. Northeastern finished the season with 23 wins, including a relatively impressive (based on the rest of the bodybags on their schedule) home-and-home sweep of Boston University in November, a one-off win at Boston College in December, and wins over both schools in February’s Beanpot tournament. They also took Pairiwse no. 7 Providence to overtime in a home-and-home series in January and again in the Hockey East semis.

Northeastern’s powered by an explosive first line, good goaltending, and a high dose of Michigan’s kryptonite. Their top line of Nolan Stevens, Adam Gaudette, and Dylan Sikura put up 41, 59, and 52 points, respectively. Gaudette and Sikura are also both Hobey Baker top-ten finalists. Goaltender Cayden Primeau has a .932 SV%, including a stellar .936 at even strength and .906 when down a man. Northeastern also features the nation’s third-best power play at 27.2%, which is the highest % power play in the tournament fold and the absolute last thing you want to see if you wear a block-M sweater.

Facing Northeastern in the Northeast Regional is a fairly heavy-handed hint at Michigan’s other opponent: geography. Northeastern’s campus is a brisk 52-minute drive from the DCU Center. Should Michigan advance, they would face either one-seed Cornell (Pairwise #3) or four-seed Boston University (Pairwise #15) on Sunday. Boston University’s campus is an even closer drive than Northeastern’s (by two minutes), and they’ve recently found a way to get all their talent on the same page, surging to a Hockey East title by way of victories over Boston College and eventual two-seed Providence. Cornell may have more overall wins, but considering location, top-end talent, recent results, and the all-important PP%, Michigan might rather face Cornell for a shot at the Frozen Four.


Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Ohio State, Big Ten Tournament

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Ohio State, Big Ten Tournament Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 13th, 2018 at 2:01 PM


[JD Scott]

Saturday, March 10, 2018

#6 Ohio State 3, #11 Michigan 2 (OT)

1st period

Myer goal

OSU 1 UM 0 PPG 16:02 Assists: Miller & Joshua

One theoretical advantage to Michigan’s propensity for crowding below the top of the faceoff circle on the penalty kill is an increased likelihood of blocked shots, and that’s what happens here. Miller gets his shot stopped but the puck pops up and back to him. He gloves it, drops it, and retreats to the blue line. He has Myer open in the opposite corner and swings it to him.

m osu btt 1-1

Myer starts skating toward the faceoff dot and Winborg, who’s stationed between the two faceoff circles, responds by getting his stick out and taking away the passing lane to the skater cutting through the slot to the front of the net. That leaves Luke Martin to step up on Myer—mostly, at least. He doesn’t want to come all the way to wall and get walked or have Myer fire a pass behind him to an open skater down low, so he tries to split the difference and take away the pass while being in position to block the shot. Problem is he’s a hair too far to Myer’s right. Martin tries to block it by dropping to a knee and pushing to his right once he sees that Myer is really going to take the shot, but the puck gets through.

m osu btt 1-2

Lavigne can see the shot the whole way, so it’s bad in the sense that he probably should have been able to track this better. On the other hand, it’s a puck that’s on Lavigne in an instant and Joshua is right next to him; as David pointed out when I asked him about this one, Lavigne was probably expecting it to be deflected off of Joshua, who somehow turned and leapt out of the way.

m osu btt 1-3

[After THE JUMP: Cooper Mar-whoa-dy (I’m sorry I’ll see myself out)]


Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Wisconsin, Big Ten Tournament

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Wisconsin, Big Ten Tournament Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 7th, 2018 at 10:41 AM


[Bill Rapai]

Friday, March 2, 2018

#3 Michigan 6, #6 Wisconsin 5

[Note: numbers refer to BTT seeding]

1st period


UM 1 UW 0 EV 1:40 Assists: Marody & Cecconi

Cecconi puts some mustard on a backhanded clearing attempt and gets the puck out of Michigan’s defensive zone.

mich wisc btt fri 1-1

The puck stays more or less on the wall and looks like it’s about to be stopped by Tischke’s skates.

mich wisc btt fri 1-2

until it somehow gets through. You can see Marody locked onto the puck in the screencap above, and he’s in perfect position to pick it up and go once it gets past the UW skater. To Tischke’s credit, he makes the right move once the split second he realizes the puck is past him. He turns and moves to get into a position where he can take away Marody’s passing lane to his right.

mich wisc btt fri 1-3

That doesn’t mean Tischke’s actually able to take away said lane, though. Marody gets the pass through to Calderone, who’s perfectly aligned. This is extra dangerous for Wisconsin because Calderone is a right-handed shot, so he’s going to get the puck on his on hand.

mich wisc btt fri 1-4

It’s also extra dangerous because there aren’t many skaters at this level who can lift a puck from in tight like Calderone. This isn’t the closest to the net that I’ve seen him go top shelf this season, but it’s still impressive because he does it at full speed while allowing the puck to slide past the midpoint of his body to where he wants to shoot, slightly outside his frame to his right.

mich wisc btt fri 1-5

[Analysis of the other 743 goals after THE JUMP]


The Chaos Is Back In Town

The Chaos Is Back In Town Comment Count

Brian March 6th, 2018 at 2:36 PM

3/2/2018 – Michigan 6, Wisconsin 5 – 19-13-3, 11-10-3 Big Ten
3/3/2018 – Michigan 7, Wisconsin 4 – 20-13-3, 11-10-3 Big Ten


keystone flops [Bill Rapai]

Just when you think Michigan has banished chaos from its ranks, Wisconsin rolls into town. This weekend's playoff series was, in a word, bonkers. Michigan scored on their first shot Friday; Wisconsin scored on their first shot Saturday. In between there was a lot of hyper-aggressive forechecking from the Badgers, power play goals by Michigan, and wave after wave of odd-man rushes both ways. Your favorite and mine was a four on one(!) set up by Quinn Hughes and finished with authority by Dakota Raabe and Niko Porikos:

This is the hockey equivalent of Brent Hibbits throwing down that thunder-dunk on Isaac Haas. It was that kind of weekend.

In the aftermath, Wisconsin is wondering what happened to their season

“We expected more out of this group,” said sophomore center Trent Frederic, who led the team with 17 goals. “It is what it is. It’s hard to look back and say we could have won here, could have won here.

“I wouldn’t say we really ever got any bounces all year. Last year, some stuff went our way. Maybe we weren’t as fortunate or maybe that was ourselves. But it just felt like one of those years (where) we were always fighting it.”

…and your author agrees. Michigan played the Badgers four times in their Hey We're Good Now second half and got more or less run out of the building twice. That did not happen against anyone else. One of those times they got run was Friday, a 6-5 Michigan that saw Wisconsin pile up a 53-29 shot advantage. It was all for naught because Michigan was 4/5 on the power play. The only other team that's handed Michigan their ass like that this year is—sigh—Ohio State. OSU is fighting for a one seed. Wisconsin's season is over because they are 5 games below .500.


[JD Scott]

Wisconsin is almost terrifying. They're VCU on ice. They crippled Michigan's breakout Friday in a game that felt immediately out of hand, but Michigan scored first because one of their defensemen let a puck dribble by him and suddenly Michigan had a two-on-one gifted to them. It continued in this vein, which Michigan scoring slam-dunk PP goals as the Badgers got the puck to the left point and tried to shoot it through four or five bodies, with some success.

In the aftermath there was nothing to do but be glad those maniacs are done and hope that Michigan gained some valuable experience at breaking out of the zone against a heavy forecheck. I guess they were resilient? When Wisconsin punched, Michigan punched back. That they had to punch back after they flung the puck from their defensive zone directly to a Wisconsin stick and then fished the puck out of the net… well, they fixed that on Saturday, a much saner game by shot counts (but not goals). Nicholas Boka's return gave Michigan a second pair of defensemen who have the confidence and skill to break that forecheck, and the tables turned.

The bid's locked in now and the rest of the season is gravy. But also BC, BU, North Dakota, and Minnesota are down or flailing towards the finish line. There's no juggernaut this year, and now that Michigan's in they've got as good a shot as anyone. As long as they stay out of the box.

[After THE JUMP: a mercifully boring pairwise section and an invitation for small schools to jump in a lake.]


Michigan Hockey Rooting Guide: Week 22

Michigan Hockey Rooting Guide: Week 22 Comment Count

NastyIsland February 23rd, 2018 at 10:00 AM


Breaking News: Herm Edwards is also Arizona State’s hockey coach* [AZCentral.com]

*He isn't, but does he know that?

Arizona State Preview






Players Drafted

Skaters >.75 PPG









2: Marody, Calderone

2.61 (Lavigne)

.912 (Lavigne)

Arizona State






1: Pasichnuk (.75)

3.44 (Daccord)

.910 (Daccord)

Things Michigan Should Try to Do Against Arizona State:

1.Fix the PP. Michigan's power play is a paltry 46th in the country. At some point, the Wolverines are going to face a team that limits their chances (a la OSU), and they're going to need to get man-advantage goals. This is the perfect time to work on it. The Sun Devils average 16+ minutes/game in the penalty box. They have an average kill rate. Michigan should have some power-play opportunities this weekend. They may want to try a few new wrinkles.

2. Be More Aggressive on the PK. So, also stay out of the box, but if you must take penalties, maybe use these chances to be more active in pressing the puck. Michigan has been dreadful on the penalty kill all season, and ASU has an anemic power play at 12%. Use this time to practice killing penalties instead of just surviving them.

3. Bury this team. This is not a good hockey team. Look at almost any statistic or metric and they're middling at best, bottom-end at worst. ASU's top scorer is a defenseman. They have two road wins (over Holy Cross and...Michigan Tech?). They've also been bombed by Penn State, Boston University, and Providence. Michigan has done the hard work (sweeping ND) and clawed back to an at-large bid. They need to finish off this run and set up a Big Ten Tournament where they're playing for a seed line instead of barely qualifying.

Last Thoughts. I'm excited to see ASU. They're a new team to D1 college hockey, and this is their first trip to Yost. Part of the fun of college sports is seeing a bunch of different teams in non-conference play. I'd never seen Vermont before they came to Yost this past Fall.  Hopefully, the Sun Devils can continue to build a program and become a nationally competitive team...after this weekend, of course.

[After THE JUMP: surveying the B1G landscape, who to root for around the country, and...Skip-Bo?]