Submitted by Brian on February 25th, 2009 at 11:05 AM

What's the best option for acquiring Frozen Four tickets? Just wait until there's a glut of tickets from fans of non-tourney teams, wait 'til the FF is settled that week? At this point (after moving to NY) I'd be willing to go just to see the games.

Every year, the Frozen Four sells out over a year before the actual event transpires. As a result, thousands of fans end up not going because they can't be bothered or just bought the tickets to maintain their priority, and tickets are beyond plentiful. Unless you're dead set on getting the best seat in the house there's no reason to buy them until you arrive on site. I've gone when it was in Buffalo and Denver and both times acquiring seats for face value was a snap. If I really care to push it I probably could have got them for less. This year it's in DC, which cares about college hockey not at all, and if Michigan gets there I'm planning on buying on-site.

The only exception to this is if a Frozen Four happens to be in Minneapolis or Boston and a local team makes it; in that case tickets can be tough.

Brandon Smith, from Jersey in last years haul. He was Army, solidly recruited by some other bigs (FLA), he has disappeared off the map. Even with a red-shirt, should I have been less optimistic in that his name seems to only come up with trepidation, as in, "oh my god not Stevie and a Frosh". What do you percieve as his main challenges to getting on the field?    

Thanks, Jeff

Smith was a pretty big recruit but was also more of an athlete than a solid player at any particular position. He played QB, KR, PR, S, and some LB for his high school team because he was one of those guys you use as much as possible; this speaks well to his athletic ability but also means he wasn't quite as ready to play as someone who was a safety all the way. So Smith started the year looking like a likely redshirt, then had an appendectomy which sealed it.

I haven't heard the trepidation you have, though. What practice mentions I've read have been very positive on his ability and optimistic he can be a solid player. That's no guarantee—Grady Brooks, Kevin Grady, etc etc etc—but he's not a guy who's fallen off the map during his redshirt year. I think he'll play, and challenge Mike Williams for a starting spot.


It is interesting that the Big Ten is again considering a nine-game schedule. I can remember the Big Ten race back in 1982. That year Michigan played nine Big Ten games (back when there were only 10 teams) but Ohio State played only eight. This actually decided the title because Ohio State beat Michigan in Columbus, had a better overall record, but finished 1/2 game back in the standings. (Searchable Big Ten standings database if you want to poke around.)

Michigan was 8-1 in the conference (losing to OSU). Ohio State finished 7-1 and beat Michigan. Michigan went to the Rose Bowl to lose to UCLA for a second time in just over 4 months.  For some reason, only Iowa and OSU played 8 BT games while the rest of the conference played 9.

I was only 12 or 13 years old at the time. Imagine the chaos if that happened in the age of the internet!!

Keith in Northville

Holy cow: Keith is right. In 1982, the entire Big Ten played nine league games except for Iowa and OSU. This also happened in 1981, when those two schools tied for the title at 6-2. OSU and Iowa were co-champs in a year when the only Big Ten game that didn't get played was Iowa-OSU!

In 1979 and 1980, Northwestern and Minnesota played an extraneous ninth game against each other; the rest of the league stuck with eight conference games. In 1977 and 1978 it was Wisconsin and Northwestern playing a full round-robin. It appears that in the late 70s and early 80s Northwestern was so concerned about its ability to schedule nonconference games that it just struck up a deal with whoever had rotated off their schedule to play a game anyway. Opponents were happy to oblige, as Northwestern won just one conference game from '77 to '81. (They beat Illinois 21-7 in '77.)

In '83 the league stopped its experiment with wacky unbalanced schedules, playing a full round-robin for two years before settling back into its traditional eight-game schedule.

Does anyone know what the heck happened in 1981 and 1982? I get full round-robin schedules. I get Northwestern running around, hat in hand, to whichever conference mate was denied the opportunity to blast them into the stone age. I don't get "everyone plays except Iowa and Ohio State."

Hey Brian,

I've been a UM hockey fan for a long time, but I used to be the type that was a score-watcher until the weather got warm, then I would pay strict attention for the stretch run.  My first UM hockey memory was the Mike Legg goal and I was hooked (boom, pun) since.  The last few years I have taken a more consistent interest despite living outside of Michigan, mostly thanks to MGoBlog.  It's been a lot of fun and I must say that I couldn't believe the surly mood I was in after the Notre Dame Frozen Four game last year. 

That being said, my somewhat uninformed question is: do the refs really screw everyone like this in the CCHA?  Trust me, I know they're bad.  Like, The Mentalist bad.  I'm just saying, it seems like the Wolverines have been on the receiving end of this as of late.  I know that it goes with the territory of being an obsessive fan that you will think your team is being screwed, but when puck hits skate and goes in, it's hard to shrug off being called a homer.  When's the last time UM has been handed a game a-la Notre Dame and Ohio State?  And you know, aaarrrgggh and stuff.


I've long been of the opinion that CCHA refs not named Shegos* or Piotrowski were uniformly awful. Any new recruits quickly proved themselves about as incompetent as the rest of the bunch. Though a couple of the promoted linesmen have struck me as okay so far this year, it's too early to tell with them.

HOWEVA, I have never seen a team get so completely hosed on two separate occasions. Two obviously blown goals in two separate one-goal games is a truly enormous effect, one that can't be matched by a demonstrative Ed Hightower charge call, or anything at all, really. I've never seen anything like it.

In the decade I've been following Michigan hockey, these are the controversial (non-) goals that stand out:

  • Some nonconference game against BC: Michigan is up 3-2 with about two minutes left in the game. There's a late scramble for the puck, which ends up lying in the crease for a BC player to roof a nanosecond after the ref blew it dead. Michigan goes on to secure an important nonconference game.
  • Some game against State: I think this was the one Michigan ended up tying when Jason Ryznar scored with a second left. Anyway, a State defenseman blasted the puck… somewhere. A goal light went on, but the puck wasn't in the net. Replays showed very little, but there was a telltale net bulge—it looked like the State defenseman had actually shot the puck through the net. Not quite as impressive as beheading a goalie a la Jack Johnson, but still. They checked the net for a hole, didn't find one, and declared no goal.
  • The NCAA regional game against Colgate: This, I believe, was the year Michigan played after the beyond epic St Lawrence-BU game that went into four overtimes. (They played Maine with four defensemen and collapsed late.) I watched an entire game of hockey and the feed only picked up when the OT started. Anyway, that was the second round.

    In the first round, Michigan went to overtime with Colgate. At some point there was another goalmouth scramble in front of the Michigan net that was eventually blown dead. When Josh Blackburn, who had ended up partially in the net, moved the puck was revealed to be well over the line. It was not entirely clear when the puck had crossed the line, however, and after a lengthy review it was called no goal.

  • The Buffalo Frozen Four against Minnesota: it's tied late in the third period, and by this time you know the drill: goalmouth scramble, puck loose that the referee can't find, and a whistle that goes just as Jason Ryznar pokes it through the fivehole.

Most of these are controversial early whistles from the referee, something that's inescapably part of hockey. None of them are the inability to see a puck obviously kicked in the net, or goals inexplicably waved off for absolutely no reason. I've never seen Michigan handed the equivalent of two goals via sheer blind incompetence.

The Colgate thing was probably the luckiest Michigan's ever gotten: it was like those plays in football where you're sure the call on the ice is wrong but there just isn't enough evidence to overturn it. It was a game-losing goal that Blackburn luckily obscured until it was too late.

Side note: the CCHA should obviously incorporate every available camera angle into its reviews, and the NCAA should repeal the inane rule about kicked goals. Anything that's not thrown or high-sticked into the net should count.

*(This knowledge appears to be disappearing into the ether, but there used to be two Shegoses (Shegii?) in the league. They were brothers. When displeased with refs who were not Shegoses, Yost would chant "we want Shegos." When displeased with refs who were Shegoses, Yost would chant "other Shegos."

The origins of this were never clear. Did the chant get started out of genuine respect, or the belief that Shegos was beyond horrible and preferring Shegos to anyone was the worst insult imaginable? Given what we know about Yost, probably the latter. This would be ironic, since the closest thing I have to a "thank God he's reffing" moment now is when I see Shegos on the ice.

Yes, like he was against Ohio State. He can't do anything about Langseth randomly awarding/disallowing goals.)



February 25th, 2009 at 11:20 AM ^

In about 1977, the Big Ten announced that they would change the already-established 1981 and 1982 football schedules to include a 9th conference game. Iowa and Ohio State were not scheduled to play each other those seasons, and so this "9th game" between the two teams was added to the schedule for the second week in September, as it was for the other four pairs of teams not scheduled to play each other.

About a year later, the Iowa State Legislature passed a law requiring Iowa and Iowa State to play each other in football every year. Iowa already had 2 non-conference games on their schedule, and were not able to cancel them.

So the Iowa-Ohio State game was replaced on Iowa's schedule (by decree of the Iowa legislature) by an Iowa-Iowa State game.

I'm missing something here, I think, but the basic idea was that Iowa wanted to play the 9th conference game but were prevented from doing so by decree of the state legislature. By 1983, Iowa was able to cut their non-conference schedule down to two (including the Iowa State game), so they were able to play the full round-robin.


February 25th, 2009 at 8:01 PM ^

Wasn't just in '81 and '82, either.

Just going backward from there:

In not only '78 but also in '77, '72 and '71 (the year the eight-game conf schedule began), there were two teams that played nine conf games while the rest played eight.

From '65 to '70 inclusive, every conf team played seven games. (with three nonconfs in a 10-game season limit)

From '61 to '64, every conf team played seven games except Indiana and Iowa, which played only six.

In 1960, MSU played only five, Wisconsin seven, and everybody else six whilst Indiana was on probation.

In the late '40s and '50s, every year there were some teams that played seven conf games, others six, or even five on occasion.

In the '30s, five or six conf games per team.

Before that, even more disparity.

BOTTOM LINE: Only since 1985 has there been a uniform eight-game conf schedule for all conference teams.


February 25th, 2009 at 11:22 AM ^

Didn't the Shegos cat-calls really originate with his "i blew the whistle in my head" called off goal in the playoffs that would have been the game-tier for michigan in a game they eventually lost?


February 25th, 2009 at 12:09 PM ^

I remember getting jobbed in some way by a Shegos in a game or two back in the 99-00 season. That's the earliest I can remember chanting. I wasn't aware that there were two of them and I always thought that the calls were, as Brian suspects, insulting the current officials because no one is worse than Shegos.


February 25th, 2009 at 12:44 PM ^

The Shegos chant goes WAY back. I remember it being common in my first full season in Yost, the 1996 season. Back then I always thought Shegos did a very good job (I think there was only the one at this point, but I was young). I also thought that there were 3 Shegosi. One who was the father and his two sons. The father worked until like '99 or so and then his sons have worked since, with some overlap.

I do distinctly remember watching a MSU-Michigan game where there was a line brawl. I don't know what year it was but I remember that you could hear the play on the ice and Shegos was talkinig to Turco telling him not to cross center ice ("Get back Marty" "Its not worth it Marty" "Dont do it Marty"). I dont know what this really has to do with anything, but I just thought it was relevent.


February 25th, 2009 at 11:22 AM ^

I remember the game with MSU blasting one through the net. That ended in a tie, but the very next night something wacky happened (don't remember what) that got us an extra goal. So the series ended up being two ties instead of a more traditional split.

And you're probably right about the chant being "worst insult imaginable" territory. I know that's how we viewed him at MSU (although now he's probably actually in the top half among CCHA refs, which is frightening).


February 25th, 2009 at 11:41 AM ^

I think it was 98 or so, there was an incident where there were two pucks on the ice and one ended up in the net for Michigan. From what I could gather, a puck was somehow lodged in the bottom of the netting from warm-ups and during a scrum the net was bumped and lo and behold, puck in the goal, lamp is lit, crowd goes crazy, etc., etc. Meanwhile the ref is frantically waiving no goal and the crowd with a clear view of the net (including me) was going ape-sh*t. The players were confused as well because no one knew how the puck got in. After about 2 or 3 minutes of net inspection, confusion and profanities, we all figured out what happened, laughed and calmed down. I think that this was a regular season game against Ferris or Western and I think that we won anyway, but Brian's list reminded me of that wacky non-goal.


February 25th, 2009 at 11:42 AM ^

I don't know about being screwed as badly as Michigan, but last season, Denver had two calls go in their favor that the league eventually apologized to the other team for, including one so egregious the official was fired.


February 25th, 2009 at 11:50 AM ^

My favorite thing about the "We Want Shegos" chant was when it would show up at various other sporting events: basketball games, baseball games, high school games, ect. It was one of the chants like "Fire Millen" that transcended different sports.


February 25th, 2009 at 12:00 PM ^

In the NHL, the rule is that if the puck goes off the skate, the goal counts unless there is "a distinct kicking motion." Maybe the NCAA could change the rule to that.

Or even better, in the NHL, they are actually allowed to use all of the camera angles!


February 25th, 2009 at 12:49 PM ^

Hockey season ticket holder from '98 - '05 here. The reason my friends all chanted for wanting the Shegoses was /because/ they were Michigan grads more than any perceived increase in quality.


February 25th, 2009 at 1:35 PM ^

I hope Brian is right about getting tickets in DC, but he may be overlooking something. DC has no college hockey program, but DC also has a lot of non-DCers. In other words, there are huge alumni groups for Michigan, OSU, Wisconsin, BU, etc. Within those groups, you may find a much higher demand that you might say in Albany or Denver.


February 25th, 2009 at 5:47 PM ^

I thought the Shegos chant started because they were pretty decent as far as CCHA refs go. Not that they were always on our good sides, but they were less shitty then the rest.


February 26th, 2009 at 11:19 AM ^

Yes, there are 2 Shegos Brothers, Matt, and Mark (who also goes by "Duke").

Way back when I first started watching Michigan Hockey, (93-94 season, if I recall correctly), the CCHA used a 2 Referee/1 Linesman system, which lead to the possibility of having both of the Shegos brothers on the ice at the same time. When they weren't there, the Shegos chant was used out of respect, because back then, those 2 were the best in the CCHA.

Shortly thereafter (95-96 season?) the CCHA (and the rest of the NCAA) switched to a 1 Ref/2 Linesman system, and the Shegos chant's meaning switched to "If there's one Shegos out there, we want the other one (doesn't matter which one), if it's none of them, we want one of them" (again, out of respect, because they were the best in the league)

Sometime in the 2000's, one of the brothers (Matt, I think) retired from his on-ice duties and became a supervisor. I think at some point since then Mark has retired, and Matt has returned to the ice.

And on the subject of referees and the institutions they graduated from, Steve Piotrowski is a Ferris alum, and I would have absolutely no qualms about seeing him on the ice in a UM-Ferris game. (Craig Lisko is also a Ferris alum, and a former goalie on their team, but I haven't seen him work enough games ... I don't think he likes Yost very much, last time I saw him there in stripes, he STILL got called a sieve)


February 27th, 2009 at 2:22 PM ^

As long as I've been watching Michigan Hockey, there has been a Shegos around. My first game was near the end of the '89-'90 season (my Freshman year) and I made it to just about all of the games the next 3 years.

At first there was not a lot of love for Matt. But by virtue of the fact that he's been around for 20+ years, I think he's shown improvement.

I can't recall exactly when the "We Want Shegos" or the "Other Shegos" chants began.

I'm not sure, but I think the early frustration around Matt Shegos was on how long he waited on face-offs and resulted in the ensuing "DROP THE PUCK" screams. In '90 and '91 I don't think there was much Shegos respect going around.

This was also the time of the famous "PASS SUCKS!" cheer. (PASS was the regional sports network back then -- the equivalent of FSD or the like.) To this day, at football and basketball games, I occasionally pull out the "PASS SUCKS" during a long TV timeout and usually get one or two snickers.


February 26th, 2009 at 5:14 PM ^

So, when they go against us (i.e. the end of the Notre Dame game), they contribute to our getting "completely hosed".

But when they are in our favor, they're "something that's inescapably part of hockey".

Got it.


February 26th, 2009 at 5:38 PM ^

When the referee closest to the play cannot see the puck and blows the whistle, that's inescapably part of hockey.

When the referee closest to the play can see the that the puck is still alive and that the net hasn't been moved, and it's the second referee (who's standing outside of the blue line) who blows the whistle to stop the play, that's getting completely hosed.


February 27th, 2009 at 9:39 AM ^

When the team we're chasing for the league title gets a free goal on an absurd call and we get a goal waved off on another absurd call, it's getting hosed.

When it happens again against a different opponent in a few weeks later and has tournament seeding implications, it's getting "completely hosed".

Unfortunately, this stuff does happen, but usually not to this degree or this clustered. In the end, we still control our own destiny and can take the CCHA tournament championship and get a one seed in a good regional by beating the teams in front of us. That doesn't mean we have to just accept how it went down.