Events Of The Weekend: Big Chill

Submitted by Brian on December 13th, 2010 at 1:03 PM

12/11/2010 – Michigan 5, Michigan State 0 – 10-5-4, 9-3-1 CCHA


via Maize and Blue Nation

Michigan State is bad at hockey.

12/10/2010 – Michigan 1, Ak—

Oh, all right.

Michigan State is really bad at hockey, bad to the point where it seems like the next time their program is anything better than decent it will be under their next coach. While I find this 80% delightful the other 20% is depressed that the grand terror of a game against Ryan Miller* has been replaced by the usual mild discomfort when a crappy CCHA team comes to town against a Michigan team capable of blowing it against a crappy CCHA team.

So the only differences between this game and Michigan's series against BG earlier in the year are the size of the crowd, my annoyance at the State band, and my lingering antipathy for Rick Comley for his non-handling of the Kampfer incident. I have a sense of how Ohio State fans must feel about Michigan football's struggles now.

As a result the Big Chill lacked the grandeur of the Cold War despite being bigger and having more fireworks and an equal amount of appalling pregame musical guest. The thing on the ice was no longer #1 versus #4. Ryan Miller was not there, nor was Mike Cammalleri or a half-dozen other guys currently plying their trade in the NHL. Midway through the second I wished Michigan had scheduled Notre Dame or Miami, because if Michigan State's going to return a big chunk of their allotment anyway we should at least have a hockey game worthy of 113,000.

If you're going to schedule a team that's hanging out with Bowling Green in the conference slums, though, you should at least chop them up into tiny bits and serve them as hors d'oeuvres to the assembled throng. Michigan did, leaving the crowd's biggest reaction to come at the tail end of a 5-0 game when the most important thing was holding on to the shutout. This year it appears symbolic acts will be the only important ones, and in ten years when this happens again and they dig out the record books for outdoor games past that zero will read "Comley" to me, and I'll remember that weird period when Michigan State was horrible.

Non-bullets got very cold towards the end

A lovely touch. This is the opposite of Cal playing Chariots of Fire on their scoreboards after Washington pulls off a last-second win: event organizers forced Michigan State to sit through the fireworks in the cold after losing 5-0; when they tried to leave halfway through they were prevented.

A fishy number. The stands were almost full, but with the top end of one endzone was sparsely populated I'm a little dubious about the Guinness-endorsed 113k since it seems like a football game would have hit that this year. I've assumed Michigan counts every last person in the building for football, but maybe not.

Hey, that looked intentional. First, highlights:

The Rust-to-Merrill goal was a two-on-two rush that resulted in a pretty goal, something Michigan fans haven't seen much of this year. The rest of the goals were also intentional but born more of hard work finding rebounds or just shooting—the slick passing to get someone open has not been a regular feature.

Celebrations. On the reel above you can see Carl Hagelin either attempt to saw off his arm at the elbow or play the world's least tiny violin after his first goal, but they missed a celebration in the third wherein the team assembled to kick an extra point. This has apparently been lost to history.

Torrent. Torrent.

The road ahead. Notre Dame and Miami split two weeks ago, leaving the three-way race at the top of the league very tight. Michigan would be ahead in hypothetical baseball standings as they're a point back of Notre Dame with a game in hand and one clear of Miami with two in hand, and their schedule is looking pretty easy down the stretch:

  • The GLI features State, an MTU team that's lost ten straight, and a 7-5 Colorado College team. Michigan should meet CC in the final.
  • Games against very bad CCHA teams: Three more against MSU.
  • Games against mediocre CCHA teams: two against Ferris (home and home), two against OSU (home), two against WMU (home), two against NMU (away)
  • Games against good CCHA teams: two against Alaska (home)
  • Series of the year: two against Miami (away)

The CCHA is the three teams at the top, LSSU, MSU, and BG at the bottom, and then a mass of five teams that are tough to differentiate. Miami has to play both ND and Michigan again, but Michigan has already gotten its series with ND out of the way—advantage teams that aren't Miami. Michigan also has a ton of home games. They'll have to get a bit better in goal and score more goals they mean to if they're going to win the league, but they've put themselves in good position.

Unfortunately, without tearing through the back end of the schedule Michigan is probably locked out of a one seed with their mediocre OOC performance. Hockey puts inordinate emphasis on OOC.

A rule not so good. Michigan State did score, though. They put in a power play goal when a puck deflected high off Hunwick and fluttered to the goal line to be batted in, but a nanosecond before that happened Hunwick fell into the net and knocked it off. While the refs got the call right, it was totally unfair: you definitely scored, you didn't do anything to get the net off, and you still get nothing. They should probably change it so that if your goal is imminent when the defense knocks the net off you still get it.


Photo gallery from MNB Nation and GMBW. reports that people are rumbling about making this a thing that happens semi-regularly. Merrill has an interesting way of finding out he scored:

Merrill actually doesn’t remember the first goal. He closed his eyes when he shot it and the next thing he knew, he was mobbed by teammates. Everything else is a happy blur.

Not recommended for drivers, as your blur will not be happy.

*(I have superficially hated many opposing athletes but Miller stands out as the guy I hated only because he was so unbelievably good. He did nothing but save everything.)



December 13th, 2010 at 1:18 PM ^

I guess it's not fair of me to criticize, as I wasn't at the Cold War ten years ago, but your opening bit about the Big Chill lacking that grandeur suggests that you didn't have much fun on Saturday. That's unfortunate, because everyone else seems to have had the time of their life.


December 13th, 2010 at 1:32 PM ^

Agreed. I had the time of my life and perhaps the most fun I have ever had at Michigan Stadium in my short existence on Earth. 

I had one friend who was too stubborn to attend, since he wanted to see a hockey game not an event, in his/her own words. Fair enough. However, you cannot discount the events around the Big Chill were extremely fun, well organized, and memorable. His view could be jaded from attending the Cold War and the Camp Randall Classic where the sightlines were complete crap. The olympic ice provided a much better viewing experience for fans. I cannot fathom how you could not enjoy the game (outside of being a butt hurt sparty). 


December 13th, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^

I went into the game expecting that I would not be watching the game at all since 9 years ago at the Cold War (when my eyes were much better) I couldn't see anything from the upper tier. At row 64 in the SW corner, my sightlines were amazing and I never lost sight of the puck.  Yost may not have planned it this way, but his amazing football watching Stadium doubles as an acceptable venue to watch the boys on ice.


December 13th, 2010 at 1:34 PM ^

Agreed. Michigan can't predict how good MSU will be when scheduling the game. Also, Michigan - Miami (OH) lacks the in-state name brand that comes with 2 intra-state rivals.

While I couldn't attend the Big Chill, it looked spectacular on TV. Brian should be ashamed about this negative post.


December 13th, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

I could not disagree more on changing the net rule. If a player knocks it off intentionaly it is a penalty. If you start allowing late goals then where would it stop ? can you score a whole second after it off ? The pegs are on there pretty good. It's not that easy to knock it off

Glen Masons Hot Wife

December 13th, 2010 at 2:23 PM ^


but it was michigan that got jobbed to create that powerplay for state in the first place. Rust got shafted on a call, where the MSU player tangled with him and proceed to fall straight back on his ass. No help from Rust. Total acting job.

Hard to feel bad for MSU, when they shouldn't have been in that position to begin with.


December 13th, 2010 at 11:10 PM ^

I'm one of those who thought the Suarez "save" in the World Cup quarterfinals should have been an automatic goal (blatant intentional handball to clear a ball that is obviously going in), and I see this as the same (and would regardless of which team was involved). It has to be something where it's obviously going in (if there's any doubt make it a penalty shot, as I believe it's supposed to be for intentionally dislodging the net if the puck is in the crease at the time), but there was no doubt that puck was going in.

Would it have mattered? I doubt it. We have one line worthy of a tournament-level team, and that ain't gonna get it done against anyone good (which Michigan certainly is). But it's still a royal shafting that the net got knocked loose a nanosecond before the puck crossed the line.


December 13th, 2010 at 1:25 PM ^

I never thought I would live to see the day where MSU and Bad CCHA team could be truthfully uttered. It is obvious there is a disconnect between recruits and Comley and perhaps one between his own players in the program. The best comparison I can make is Comley is MSU's John Cooper. 


December 13th, 2010 at 3:21 PM ^

The announced attendance for the MSU game was also over 113,000.

Also: The attendance announced at the Big Chill was not "Guinness-endorsed." All, Guinness did at the game was certify that the attendance had surpassed the previous Guinness record for a hockey game. Guinness hasn't released their official attendance number yet (which will be lower than the 113,411 figure announced at the game).


December 13th, 2010 at 1:30 PM ^

Did you watch this game in an alternative universe?

Maybe I did. Everyone around me and that I talked with during and after had a blast. It was a festive atomsphere. Why is this post such a Debbie Downer? It was a fun day and I'm glad I was part of it. It was a good time had by all. Almost.

And, the fireworks  were cool. And the RAWK the went with the fireworks, perhaps the only RAWK i would ever endorse at the Stadium now that the band's volume issues have been solved.

Sgt. Wolverine

December 13th, 2010 at 1:44 PM ^

I was there with a bunch of my friends, and we all agreed it was a spectacular event and a lot of fun. The only negativity I experienced came from grumpy MSU fans, and even they seemed to enjoy the event despite the loss. This MGoPost is wholly unrepresentative of the Big Chill.


December 13th, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

Brian left before the fireworks anyway (was two rows in front of me). (Wasn't sure if it was him, didn't want to be awkward-guy...) 

Was also cool to see Rich Rod, Denard and some recruits (I think) at the game. They walked around the North end zone and sat in the front of our section for a while. 


December 13th, 2010 at 3:27 PM ^

It was a first-class event.  The atmosphere around us was electric, and I overheard so many positive comments from M and State faithful alike.  There was a very polite and energetic State group right behind us who to a person all said things like "Win or lose, wouldn't miss this for anything". My family loved it, I loved it, and ALL of my buddies who went loved it. 

The Athletic Dept and all those involved in the planning of this event deserve a hearty "thanks"

Lastly, as much fun as it can be to slight them, there was only 1 school to invite - and that's MSU.  Sure, we heard a few digs about football, completely to be expected, and deserved. But on the other hand, a couple of the Spartys behind us remarked about the promise of our basketball team. I think the general positivity of everyone involved is a reflection of how fun and remarkable the event was.

Sorry you didn't see it that way Brian. 

Cosmic Blue

December 13th, 2010 at 1:44 PM ^

i need to go rent this now. i had no idea that it was about a bunch of michigan guys, but after the brief clip show, this looks like something i need to know about.

also, i was told by someone nearby that the songs played during the firework show were from the soundtrack from the movie. can anyone confirm this? if true, that seems like a classy move


December 13th, 2010 at 2:38 PM ^

The Big Chill came out while I was a student at Michigan and its themes and soundtrack were pretty ubiquitous at the time.  They even brought a follow-up by Kasdan to Ann Arbor for a premier, given the popularity, etc., of The Big Chill.  I thought it was pretty boring and a non-event (esp since they basically just read telegrams - yes, telegrams - from the celebrities who couldn't make it in person (all of them)), but then I was probably waiting for a scene that included the UM-MSU football game somehow.



December 13th, 2010 at 1:44 PM ^

it was great that i got to see this on TV, but the BTN did just an ok job.  the camera angles sort of precluded the viewer from seeing the crowd.  when the crowd and the setting are half of the event, that's kind of bad.  also, once if was 3-0 or at least 4-0 or 5-0, they really could've zoomed out and panned and showed what people in the crowd were doing - the chants, etc. 


December 13th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

Why the hell put a damper on everyone else's great time?

The Big Chill was a fantastic atmosphere. I, for one, was perfectly happy to see us completely destroy MSU on the ice.

The weather, after being questionable for the entire week, turned out to be perfect.  24 hours later, it was much colder, snowing heavily, and strong winds gusting more than 40 mph. Yeah, it coulda been like that. Instead, it was a perfectly beautiful afternoon/evening. Extremely well-executed by the athletic department, and a REALLY great way to debut the new permanent lights! 

Given how I felt leaving after the last football game, it was awesome to leave the Big House for the last time this year, cheering "IT'S GREAT.... TO BE.... A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE."


December 13th, 2010 at 1:48 PM ^

Some notes from my experience at the game;

1. The beginning of the game felt really quiet. My wife was wondering why the announcer was talking more, but I told her that the hockey announcer doesn't actually talk that much during the game.  It really made me appriciate Yost that much more, since the crowd and band make constant cheers and chants create noise the entire game.  The third period did definately get a lot louder as casual fans began to pick up cheers, and the cold had everyone moving.

2. I'm jealous of any fans who took caught a puck during the game/ dissapointed that the event staff didn't toss pucks into the crowd when they flew out of the rink

3. Denard and his smile light up the stadium even when he's not playing

4. I think there was a fight in the stands in the SE corner in the State fan section (I was across the field in SW). This caught me by suprise since I have only seen one fight at Yost or the Big House in many games and years. Felt very out of place.

5. Hypocritical me; Enjoyed fights on ice.  I too, Brian, miss the competitive games against Ryan Miller, but am glad that there is still a rivalry alive in both sides with passioned play (even after the whistle). We Want Gassof!


December 13th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

I was really suprised at the end of the game when Hunwick wasn't named one of the top three players of the game, but was really happy when the players (I think that's what it looked like) made him skate out to be recognized as well, and the announcer correctly added the fourth honorable mention.  34 saves, gotta love the little netminder.

Number 7

December 13th, 2010 at 2:25 PM ^

"Miller stands out as the guy I hated only because he was so unbelievably good."

Interesting idea.  Can I propose Troy Smith and Evan Turner for that same category?


December 13th, 2010 at 2:55 PM ^

Since the title of the section was weekend events, I was disappointed Brian didn't talk about the valiant effort put forth by our men's soccer team and the ass-whiping our men's basketball team put on Utah. Overall, a great weekend for U of M athletics.

I was at the Big Chill and it was a ton of fun. I can see why you would want MSU to be good so it feels better when we beat them, but they are a rival no matter how good they are and beating them that badly felt good. Especially because there was a sparty ass-hat sitting two rows up from me saying things like Josh Groban when Denard and Rodriguez were announced and then chanting "1 more year" over and over. I rarely get into confrontations but I ended up, with two or three other people throughout the course of the game, cussing the guy out.


December 13th, 2010 at 3:04 PM ^

I guess if we were going to get grumpy Brian, we'd at least get some complaining about advertising. This one seemed mailed in.

And really, the blowout helped the party atmosphere.  If you want a hard core hockey game, why even buy a ticket, and not just go to the dozens at Yost?  This was a party. And a party you didn't want to risk losing, as you set the record (like somehow the loss to MSU had less people than U-Conn, even though I've never seen more people in town for a game). Get out ass kicked in football by our rivals, we complain. Beat our rivals heads in, we complain. I think we like to complain.

Has so much been going on that even historic event aren't worthy of thought?  Must be working on that OSU UFR.


December 13th, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

But he's a pretty hardcore hockey guy too.  And really, if anything, soccer, while disappointing in the way it went down, was something to be celebrated.  Facing a top team that handed you your ass earlier in the season, and taking them to the wire?  For a relatively new program?  It was a defeat, but it was one with great honor. No heads should be held down for that.

Michigan Arrogance

December 13th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

I didn't know they forced the MSU team to stay out there.

I thought the whole day was a blast, and sure the opponent was LOL and I would have scheduled Minnesota... but what can you do?

The only down parts were the down in front complaints and the lip-synching hack who sang whatever that crappy song was pre-game.


December 13th, 2010 at 7:29 PM ^

before the game, about how both teams had agreed to stay for the post-game fireworks.  I believe it was part of the one of the initial releases on the post-game fireworks.  I don't remember the exact reason, but something about soildarity, experience for the fans yaddah yaddah yaddah.  That's why they State had to stay out, they had already agreed to it.  I didn't notice them trying to leave and I think they probably should have been able to leave and just be alone after that, but what's done is done.  And to pre-empt it, I really hope nobody plays the "Wah wah Sparty sportsmanship" card, after Michigan left the ice without shaking hands after the Friday OSU game.  Obviously the reason for that is probably pretty clear and Red sent in somebody to pull them back out, but again, what's done is done. 

Also, Minnesota the last couple years wouldn't have necessarily been much better, they've fallen off quite a  bit too, Thanksgiving weekend nonwithstanding.  Look at last year's 6-0 loss to the worst Michigan team in 20 years.  Unfortunately, you don't have to be a legitimate top 10 team to have a decent chance of beating Michigan anymore.  State was probably the right choice for a whole host of reasons, from tradition, to proximity, to rivalry recognition, regardless of their current prowess.


December 14th, 2010 at 9:34 AM ^

oh man i remember exactly what game you are talking about.  My worst childhood memory at Yost, we absolutely dominate the game, but lose 1-0 because this human robot doesn't let anything past :( i could only take solace that he is the greatest goalie to come out of the US ever