A Monster Hockey Weekend Arrives Comment Count

Brian January 30th, 2009 at 2:32 PM

NotreDame_Logo3 screw ear

The Essentials

WHAT #8 Michigan H&H vs #1 Notre Dame
WHERE Joyce Ice Arena (Friday)/Yost Ice Arena (Saturday)
WHEN 8:05 PM Friday, 7:35 PM Saturday
THE LINE Uh… do they have college hockey lines?
TELEVISION Friday on CBS College Sports, Saturday on FSN

*(NCAA football lines courtesy BetUS sportsbook)

Michigan's currently third in the CCHA by percentages—they trail a few teams on which they have two or even four games in hand—and seventh in the pairwise. Though Notre Dame has all but clinched the regular season CCHA crown, this coming weekend means a great deal for the team.

One: it's Notre Dame. Screw those guys in the ear. Two: this is probably the best team Michigan will play all year. They're 19-3-3, unbeaten in 20, #1 in the polls, and a solid #1 seed in the Pairwise. Three: this is the team that knocked Michigan out of the NCAA tourney. See earlier statement about ears and screwing therein. Four: it's hard to tell exactly what's going to go down with the wacky Pairwise this early, but a sweep here and Michigan—believe it or not—is well-positioned to acquire a #1 seed when the tournament arrives. (For one: it'll be really tough for ND to win the comparison when they're 0-2 against M, pending a potential matchup at the Joe.)

About that sweep, though: the last time Notre Dame lost was October 25th. Miami completed a weekend sweep of 3-2, and since then it's been 17-0-3. Though ND's competition since hasn't been rough—mostly bad CCHA teams with UMD and BC interspersed—any win streak of that length says volumes about a team. Michigan just gacked one away to BGSU, after all. This team is the class of the league and perhaps the nation, and if we're being honest with ourselves a split would be just fine thanks.

I'll leave previewing duties to Yost Built—which independently italicized "October 25th" for emphasis—and Michael Spath. This seems to be the key (from Yost Built):

The key to their success? They really don't give up that many goals. They've given up more than three just one time the entire season, and that was in the season opener (a 5-2 loss at Denver). They've only given up 3 goals on five occasions. They've held an opponent to 0 or 1 goals on fourteen occasions.

That bodes unwell for a Michigan team that has struggled to score against teams as weak as Northern Michigan, Western Michigan, and Bowling Green. First goal will be even more critical than it usually is.

I assume we'll see Hogan, since the last time Michigan ran up against Notre Dame Billy Sauer went all Nickelback on us. (Side note: that post is on the first page of Google hits for "Nickelback sucks"; I could, if I so chose, declare victory and retire a satisfied man.)

Mitera inches closer. Mitera has hit the ice at Yost with the team. Red would like you to hold your horses, though:

"It’s good, but Mitera’s not ‘back’ back,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “It’s all a matter of getting into full practice, full tempo, full intensity and then full contact. I think he’s fine. It’s just a matter of him and the doctors getting confidence.

“He looks fine and he feels fine, but he’s not in shape.”

The Daily links an earlier article in which Mitera said he was aiming to return for the last weekend of the regular season against Ferris, but the latest info from Mel Pearson projected Mitera to return as early as two weekends from now against Nebraska-Omaha.

Return of the jack. Corey Tropp has returned to his USHL team, although he remains "enrolled" at Michigan State. He plans to return next year, but that's not decided:

The plan right now is we’ll sit down and talk at the end of the season. They have to make a decision and I’ll have to make a decision on what I think’s best for me.

Tropp does not come off well in that interview, BTW. Red said his last bit on this stuff, if you're interested in that. (Hoover Street Rag also has a comprehensive recap of the various and sundry reactions.)

Meanwhile, Steve Kampfer testified in court about that other head trauma and Bruce Kampfer has been banned from "most buildings on Michigan's campus"—I bet he can still go to the FXB! Michigan also plans yet another of their periodic crackdowns on potty-mouthed Michigan students:

On Thursday, an e-mail was sent to U-M students reminding them of the warning printed on the backs of their game tickets, which in part reads that "management reserves the right to eject any person whose conduct management deems disorderly, obnoxious or unbecoming. ... We will eject, without warning, individuals who use profane language and/or make obscene gestures."

While I sympathize with the administration about the issue, (if not in the specific instance that occurred Saturday) the way they go about this is the same half-ass tough guy thing every time. It never works and it won't work this time either. Kicking out a dozen kids doing the penalty box cheer does nothing. Either carrot-and-stick the whole student section—and there should be a "carrot" part—into compliance or give up.

(Kampfer testimony HT: Michigan Hockey Net.)

Comments

jamiemac

January 30th, 2009 at 2:59 PM ^

Thanks Brian, why dont you let me handle this one.

According to 5Dimes (one of the best, imo), Notre Dame is favored straight up at -160. Meaning you have to wager $160 to win $100. Michigan, the underdog, is +120, meaning you can wager $100 to win $120.

You can wager with a spread too: ND -0.5 at -115 or Michigan at +0.5 at -125.

The Over/Under is 5.

Any takers?

wooderson

January 30th, 2009 at 3:15 PM ^

Having NCAA Regionals would be a great carrot for the students to tone it down some. Of course the problem is everyone knows it will be a cold day in hell before Yost is ever given fair consideration for hosting again, fan behavior or not.

GoBlueKC

January 30th, 2009 at 4:25 PM ^

I really hope we play well enough to finish up the season to go into the Tournies with some confidence. However, a #1 seed may as well be the worst thing possible for us. Damn you terriers.....

Sparky79

January 31st, 2009 at 12:08 AM ^

That's always the excuse given by administration and such...bad fan behavior = no more regionals.

The real reason, in my opinion... because every time Michigan hosts a regional at Yost, they win. 1998 won our regional defeating Princeton and North Dakota. 2002 beat St. Cloud State (Molly!) and Denver (who was pissed off about having to come to Ann Arbor). 2003 beat Maine and Colorado College (also not happy).

The coaches and fans were all whining about Michigan hosting, despite the fact that other schools have hosted on their home rinks. Apparently it's our fault for actually taking advantage of the situation.

Basically we pissed off the almighty WCHA, then Denver's coach or someone got put on the NCAA brackets committee and you knew then we were screwed. There was one year that we thought we were going to play in Grand Rapids but instead they sent Michigan State there while sending Michigan to like North Dakota or something.

But pretty much since we win at home, and everyone whines everytime we host and take advantage of it, you can pretty much rule out any chance of us hosting again. Of course, they'll just blame it on fan behavior, not the politics.

OldManUfer

January 31st, 2009 at 7:06 PM ^

Brian, I think your contention that Notre Dame has the CCHA championship basically wrapped up is wrong. If Michigan wins again tonight, that puts us 4 points back with 8 games to go for each. Granted, ND's schedule is pretty light from here on out, but it's possible they lose two or three more. Our remaining schedule is a little tougher, but not much, and if we take a lot of momentum out of this weekend, the regular season title's up for grabs.

As for hosting, I totally agree with Sparky79: the "fan behavior" excuse is absolute bullshit. Other teams have vulgar chants, there are plenty of worse fan bases than ours, and they still get regionals and even Frozen Fours. What really pisses me off is Minnesota.

All the regional and Frozen Four sites have been selected through 2011. I enrolled in college and began going to the hockey games in 2000. Minnesota has hosted/is slated to host 7 times in that time period (in Mariucci Arena or, a whopping 6.5 miles away, Xcel Energy Center):

  • 2000 West regional
  • 2002 Frozen Four
  • 2003 West regional
  • 2005 West regional
  • 2009 West regional
  • 2010 West regional
  • 2011 Frozen Four

In that same time period, Michigan has hosted twice (West/Midwest regional in 2002 and 2003) and hasn't heard the end of it (the CCHA is also hosting the Frozen Four at Ford Field, 44 miles from Yost, in 2010, but it's not the same).

Minnesota fans are no angels, they riot, fight, and swear. It's not just them, either; most of the rest of the WCHA has been doing just fine as well. Denver, Colorado College, and Wisconsin hosted the Final Four, West regional, and Midwest regional (respectively) last year. And we all know how much better, in general, WCHA fans act than Michigan fans...

Don't buy the committee's line.