The Puck Drops This Weekend

Submitted by Brian on September 28th, 2010 at 1:22 PM


The hockey team takes on Mercyhurst this weekend in an actual game, and since I had the good sense to write my hockey season preview in the summer it exists for the first time ever. The forwards:

  • Lose just Brian Lebler and midseason defection Robbie Czarnik.
  • Return everyone else including seniors Carl Hagelin, Louie Caporusso, and Matt Rust.
  • Add talented-but-engimatic forwards and draft stock imploders Luke Moffatt and Jacob Fallon.

Carl Hagelin == hockey Denard.

The defense:

  • Michigan loses Chris Summers and Steve Kampfer.
  • They return Tristin Llewellyn, Chad Langlais, Brandon Burlon, Greg Pateryn, and Lee Moffie.
  • They add second-rounder Jon Merrill, 2009 third-rounder Mac Bennett, and undrafted NTDPer Kevin Clare.

Biggest concerns are Llewellyn's reliability, a shut-down defender against top pairings, and how to get Moffie on the ice if he's learned how to play D.

The goalies:

I have no idea what will happen here. Hunwick could backslide as his rebound control betrays him, and Hogan could bounce back to his junior-year form. If you put a gun to my head I would say Hunwick claims the starting job around midseason, but that is a prediction with nothing but good memories from the playoff run behind it. I don't think anyone has a clue here, including the coaches.

Yost Built is also ramping up its season preview. Michigan is ranked #4 in the first USA today poll of the season and the official site has launched a "Countdown to Faceoff" series similar to the CTK videos. Here's Louie Caporusso:

The TV schedule, road games in bold:

Date Game Time Network
10/2/10 Mercyhurst at Michigan 7:35 Comcast
10/8/10 Michigan at Bowling Green 7:05 Comcast
10/30/10 Ferris State at Michigan 7:35 Comcast
11/5/10 Michigan State at Western Michigan 7:35 Comcast
11/13/10 Notre Dame at Michigan 7:35 Comcast
11/19/10 Lake Superior at Michigan 7:35 Comcast
12/3/10 Michigan at Ohio State 7:35 BTN
12/11/10 Michigan State v. Michigan
The Big Chill at the Big House 
3:05 FSD
12/30/10 G-L-I Championship (Teams TBD) 7:35 FSD 
1/7/11 Michigan at Michigan State 7:35 BTN 
1/8/11 Michigan State at Michigan 7:05 FS PLUS
1/14/11 Ferris State at Michigan 7:35 CBS College
1/15/11 Michigan at Ferris State 7:05 Comcast
1/21/11 Alaska at Michigan 7:35 FS PLUS
1/29/11 Michigan v. Michigan State (JLA) 8:05 FSD 
2/4/11 Michigan at Miami 7:35 CBS College
2/5/11 Michigan at Miami 5:05 FSD 
2/11/11 Ohio State at Michigan 7:35 BTN
2/12/11 Ohio State at Michigan 7:35 BTN
2/18/11 Western Michigan at Michigan 7:35 Comcast
2/19/11 Western Michigan at Michigan 7:35 FSD
3/4/11 First-Round Campus-Site 7:35 FSD
3/4 OR 5/11 First-Round Campus-Site TBA CBS College
3/11/11 Second-Round Campus-Site TBA Comcast
3/12/11 Second-Round Campus Site TBA Comcast
3/18/11 CCHA Semifinal # 1 4:35 FS PLUS
3/18/11 CCHA Semifinal # 2 8:05 FS PLUS
3/19/11 CCHA Championship Game 7:35 FS PLUS

That's 20 of 34 games plus potential additions if they get to the GLI championship (likely since the first opponent this year is Michigan Tech) and host a playoff series, which they obviously will. As a bonus, all of the FSD games will be in HD.

Serious coverage will have to wait until football season is over, but there will be erratic posts when warranted.

A Stupid Prediction

Michigan spent most of last year floundering around looking like they'd be the first Berenson team in 20 years to miss the tournament, then caught fire in the CCHA playoffs. Eight games later they were undefeated in the postseason when some guy from Hockey East and his galaxy-spanning incompetence robbed Michigan of a goal that would send them to the Frozen Four. Fate being what it is, Shawn Hunwick would misplay an easy slap shot in the most crushing hockey game I've ever seen.

The question Michigan hockey will spend the first half of the season answering is "well, which is it?" Is it the .500 team that entered the CCHA playoffs or the undefeated team that outshot Miami almost 4 to 1 in the first overtime of the Waterloo, Indiana game?

It should be the latter. Michigan will battle Miami for the conference title, make the NCAA tournament as either a 1 or 2 seed, and then you've got single elimination playoff hockey designed to make a mockery of anyone stupid enough to predict it. Red is going around bluntly stating things like this:

"We realized we were as good as anybody at the end of last year and this team will take that (confidence) and put that on the ice."

"Does it make our team better? Definitely, it's huge," said Berenson of having Hagelin and Caporusso back. "You're so much more optimistic because you know who your top players are. I felt they had their heads in the right place. They are really invested in this program."

They will lay waste and then it will be the tournament again, where nothing makes sense and it all matters so much.



September 28th, 2010 at 1:50 PM ^

Whenever I get grief from friends and family members regarding my possibly-unhealthy level of interest in my terrible (Minny) football team, and how there's really nothing I can do about it anyway so why must it matter so, I always have the nice easy comeback:


"This is nothing, I live college hockey!"


September 28th, 2010 at 2:18 PM ^

I used to go to a lot of the games with my dad and he was always amazed at my college hockey knowledge.  I told him that the internet is for, although there are a few other sites I enjoy as well.   Things are just starting to pick back up on the hockey blogs.  The start of college hockey season is my second favorite time of year.  (Playoffs and the tournament is my favorite.)


September 28th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

Seriously the Big Chill hasn't been hyped enough or talked about enough to warrant national TV coverage? FSD is great for everyone living in Michigan but I was hoping to DVR this game as we will be in attendance and keep it for years to come on the DVR box. Or until U-verse screws us and replaces our DVR thus making us lose everything stored. Which they've done twice now. Hopefully as it nears the time someone will get wise and either put this on the BTN or ESPNU or something since it is rather remarkable and would help bolster hockey's image in America. Look at the success the New Year's day games have become for the NHL.


September 28th, 2010 at 4:09 PM ^

I get it here in Indy as well ... of course pro sports are blacked out unless you have the appropriate package (and sometimes even then; this "market" tends to force some really stupid decisions, I can't wait until professional sports enter the 21st century and drop these shenanigans), but everything else is available. Looking forward to watching some more hockey this season.

I can't blame ESPN much for staying away from hockey ... after Bettman nuked pretty much everything about the sport (I'm surprised he hasn't pushed for an outdoor game in Miami or Dallas yet), ESPN is probably wary of getting involved again, which is too bad, because as you suggest, they provide visibility for sports that is nearly impossible to match anywhere else, and so we have to shell out big bucks for Center Ice or go looking for obscure channels in the guide.

Considering how much coverage they're giving to non-revenue sports, though, it does seem like college hockey would be a natural fit.


September 28th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

I was at the Cold War, the Camp Randall Hockey Classic, and I will be at the Big Chill. This time had better be a win. If not, the 12-hour drive home will suck more.

Jim Slater started a terrible month at Spartan Stadium.

Maize n Brew Dave

September 28th, 2010 at 2:37 PM ^

That was the 1995 loss to Maine in the frozen four. The one where ESPN ran out of satelite time and insead of being able to watch the third overtime they went ot some goddamn golf tournament. Before we could find a working radio the game was over and twenty minutes later they showed the game winner on sportscenter. That was the most crushing loss I've experienced as a Michigan hockey fan. Both of them we should've won. Both we didn't. But that Maine loss... man... it still pisses me off.

I Blue Myself

September 28th, 2010 at 5:47 PM ^

This is probably hopeless, but does anyone know if the Comcast games will be available on Dish Network on their regional sports pack?  I've never been able to find them in the past but am hoping someone else knows something I don't.  I'm able to watch the Fox Sports Detroit games, but have never found the local Comcast games.


September 28th, 2010 at 7:15 PM ^

is there any hope of being able to watch any of the games on tv or online? can anyone who's been out in the real world for a while explain how they get their michigan hockey fix?


October 6th, 2010 at 3:14 AM ^

Why is Comcast getting more games this year?  It sucks they have the 2nd-round of the CCHA playoffs. 

Also, that schedule probably isn't final.  ESPNU typically picks up a couple games, but they don't usually have their schedule set before the season starts.

For us DirecTV users, I currently count 15-18 games reaching our TVs.  That seems like a normal amount, yeah?


September 29th, 2010 at 10:04 AM ^

is probably the weakest link until the freshmen get in sync with the college level. Losing Summers and Kampfer will be more of an issue early in the year. Hopefully the team will play defense like in the playoffs and help boost goaltender confidence as well. 

Early season unbalanced road schedule-including a big one @ UNH-four home games in October, and- more noticeable is that most of their tougher conference games are roadies- @ Miami, @NMU, @FSU (clustermate) @ OSU (clustermate) @ MSU (clustermate) @ Alaska.

Plus a good dose of the WCHA- UNO (the grudge games for sweeping Michigan last season and for bolting the CCHA) @ Minn @ Wisconsin, Tech (GLI) and Maybe CC (GLI).  

Let's hope the offense rolls until the defense gels. That and solid goaltending.