Ready Or Not

Submitted by Brian on March 22nd, 2011 at 4:02 PM

3/18/2011 – Michigan 2, Western Michigan 5 – 25-10-4
3/19/2011 – Michigan 4, Notre Dame 2 - 26-10-4, third place

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So… hockey. I went down to the Joe on Friday, sat directly behind the goal where Michigan shot twice, and saw Western Michigan score four goals in the (a?) second as Michigan got thumped embarrassingly. They went out and won the next afternoon against Notre Dame but even that win over a solid team seemed to bode unwell—Michigan was outshot 44-23. It was only Shawn Hunwick going ape that prevented an 0-2 weekend that would have provided a sad counterpoint to the basketball team's overachieving.

Depending on the events of this weekend we'll look back at the CCHA finals as a hiccup or the omen that spelled doom, and since our bracket is a team we split with earlier in the season and almost definitely BC it's probably going to be the latter. Getting outshot 2-1 and surviving on a goal from Jeff Rohrkemper of all people does not seem like a recipe for tournament success. Right now I find it very hard to believe Michigan will get to the Frozen Four unless Hunwick is as insane as he was against ND.

Various items:

Deblois runs train. Derek Deblois was extremely fortunate not to get kicked out of the Western game after taking two dumb boarding penalties. I wouldn't have complained if he got the boot on the first one, and I think he was saved on the second by the fact that he was boarding the opponent into a linesman, not the actual boards. If the linesman wasn't in the way that could have been extremely ugly. Western scored on both power plays; Deblois justly sat out the ND game.

Penalty kill debacle. WMU was 3/6 on the PP and Michigan is now 25th nationally on the PK. I have no idea why. Michigan returned the entirety of what was a top five PK last year and now they're turrible. I think Hunwick's size is a major factor, as he's just not going to block nearly as many open shots he can't see as a big guy, but last year a lot of opponent power plays were spent trying to dig the puck out of their own end.

If Michigan's going to do anything in the tourney they're going to have to stay out of the box. A penalty filled game will not be to their benefit. Maybe not so much against UNO's meh PP, but BC is sixth and will gut Michigan like a fish if they take dumb penalties.

Goodbye, fourth line? Now is the time—last week might have been the time—to consign Michigan's dodgy fourth line to the bench except in select situations. I'd throw Winnett down there and use Lynch as the defensive responsibility on the midget line of Treais-Sparks-Someone, but Red has always given Winnett more time than it seems he warrants with his play so I don't think we'll see that. I'm guessing if we do see a short bench it won't be until the second round as M tries to keep players fresh.

Atmosphere. Kudos to the Western fans for turning out en masse at the Joe. The Friday game featured student sections chanting at each other*, and while I wished things were a little more clever there was more atmosphere for College Hockey at the Joe than there had been since the Chris Kunitz-led Ferris State team played Michigan for the CCHA title in a packed building. It's too bad for the league that the two new powers are fan-deficient ND and Miami; if Ferris and Western were making the Joe on the regular the CCHA finals would be far less depressing.

*[I wish the Michigan students had responded to the "why so quiet" chant with "we are losing," and followed that with "this is why you go to Western," though I'm not sure how you chant-ify the last bit.]

Please don't go full Roy. I'm a little worried about Shawn Hunwick's tendency to get punchy when things aren't going well. He took a critical penalty earlier in the year and could have gotten one in a scrum midway through the second. When he's on he's very good; against Western it seemed like the Broncos got in his head and affected his performance.

Elsewhere

Yost Built: not impressed with Friday's game. Also not impressed with the refs on Saturday. The News profiles Hagelin.

Big Ten Section

In case you were wondering about other Big Ten teams adding hockey, Illinois says no, Nebraska says no, Iowa says no (sort of, no quote), and I'm pretty sure you don't even have to bother asking Northwestern, Indiana, or Purdue. If you're wondering about CCHA teams packing it in, they seem pretty sanguine about it:

Are the non-Big Ten teams worried about their future? Let’s see: Miami: Nope. Bowling Green: Not at all. Lake Superior State and Ferris State: Nah (Great quotes from LSSU coach Jim Roque). Western Michigan: Not really. Minnesota State Mankato: Not entirely. Notre Dame: Maybe just a tiny bit. Alabama-Huntsville: Cautiously optimistic? Northern Michigan: Not “crying” about it. Nebraska-Omaha: Not worried, just not too happy. (Pretty much everybody is saying the same things. I’d imagine (hope?) we’ll have a much better idea about a plan after the American Hockey Coaches Association meetings over the summer.)

That ND article also has quotes from Jeff Jackson about trying to get scheduling arrangements with the Big Ten teams. Michigan "has obviously become a rival" and Michigan State "is also an option." LSSU's Jim Roque points out that they're talking about one home series a year they won't draw as well for since no one turns out to see OSU, something Playing For Stuff would entirely replace. I cannot emphasize enough how awesome Playing For Stuff would be.

The Big Ten Network is committing to "at least 40" hockey games as part of the new arrangement. That's a third of the conference schedule and approximately two per week over the course of the season, which is way less than I'd like but way more than they're doing now. The 40 number suggests they won't be moving start times for TV.

You can start your expansion speculation now, by the way.

Unexpectedly Long Recruiting Section

Feel free to file this under "I'll believe it when I see it," but highly touted forward Max Domi (yes that Domi) is apparently headed for the USHL and then college:

“I played junior but (Max’s mother) Leanne and I want our kid to go to college,” said Tie Domi, Max’s celebrity father. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but for us, it was the right decision.”

Young Domi, 15, was expected to be one of the top choices in the OHL draft, and has informed junior teams in the province to pass on him. The decision by Domi shouldn’t be considered a shot at junior hockey… The real shot in all this is that Domi is bypassing tier-two junior hockey in Ontario to play next season in the United States Hockey League, where he will finish his last year of high school.

Absolutely no one believes this is actually going to happen, but if Domi doesn't go to Kingston or one of the don't-draft-me-whoops-I'll-report spots (Kitchener, London, Windsor) then maybe it's not a front. Domi visited Michigan about a month ago, FWIW, and is supposed to be highly interested. If Domi actually goes to college and actually picks Michigan he'd be a 2012 recruit.

Insert link to rabble-rousing article about how messed up the major junior draft system is here. Also wonder why the hell USA Hockey would agree to this:

Hockey Canada and USA Hockey have an agreement that borders on the obscene when it comes to restricting the rights of young people. Fearful it will lose its best prospects to college hockey, the Canadian League has convinced Hockey Canada to prohibit any 16-year-old Canadian player, in conjunction with USA Hockey, from playing in the USHL unless they appeal to the National Appeals Committee and demonstrate "special circumstances" or move there with a parent. What makes it so obscene is the CHL opens its arms to American-born 16-year-olds and has no problem with doing it, but insists on making it a one-way street.

Canada forces their players who want to play college to play in Junior A—the iffy circuit that Burlon, Caporusso, and most other Canadian players in college toiled in—instead of the vastly higher quality USHL. I'm confused as to what their leverage is here. If USA Hockey welcomed them, what recourse would Canada have? They've already set their phasers to maximum predation.

Why is this a one-way street? I have no idea, but I emailed USA Hockey in case they do.

(HT: Western College Hockey)

BONUS random scouting report: AmericanDream is probably the most connected and reliable poster on HFBoards when it comes to exceedingly young American hockey players (tallest midget jokes apply but "reliable message board poster" is about as good as it gets when we're talking about 16 year old hockey players), and he provided a scouting report on recent Michigan commit Alex Talcott. Talcott is the only '95 commit Michigan has who isn't trying out for (or has already made) the NTDP but it's not for a lack of talent:

Kind of shocked that Alex Talcott did not get an invite as well. extremely gifted player who should go very high for this years OHL draft. The kid is a fire ball on skates, absolutely electric and physical. Some say he will go in the OHL draft's first round along with Compher (both University of Michigan star recruits).

Not sure if Talcott said he is going to the OHL so dont even bother, but if I could make a list of the top 5 forward eligible for this group it would be: Compher, Fasching, Shea, Brian Williams, and Talcott as the top 5 imo with Hayden, Guertler, and Allen right there as well.

Bold mine; those guys are current commits. I doubt that Talcott is already set on the OHL since he just committed two weeks ago, but stranger things have happened and as mentioned Michigan is already forward-heavy in the 2013 class.

Comments

Skiptoomylou22

March 22nd, 2011 at 4:30 PM ^

Notre Dame ISN'T going to go to a conference that everyone thinks they should go to and would make for better competition and rivalries?!! Im not buying it, they would never.

redwings8831

March 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

Wouldn't the conference schedule be 60 games (6 teams x 20 games / 2)? So the BTN would be televising 2/3 of the conference schedule which I think would be a great start.

Wolverine318

March 22nd, 2011 at 4:59 PM ^

yeah, my friend texted me after we chanted "we are smarter" and WMU chanted back "you just pay more", that we should have responded with "We will make more."  The Lawson Lunatics were great last weekend.

Don't count out IU for hockey. They are currently doing studies regarding interest in starting a program and have contacted the same firm that performed the interest and financial study for Penn State. You can count out Purdue. The closest rink is in Monticello and Purdue plays their games one hour away in Indy.

That Illinois notebook article about the interest in hockey is full of mistakes and grammatical issues. Do they even have editors?

zlionsfan

March 22nd, 2011 at 5:46 PM ^

There isn't even a viable site on or near campus to build a small arena. I suppose something might "turn up" if Indiana suddenly jumped to the varsity level, but it would still require a very generous benefactor: the current focus is on paying for the Mackey and Ross-Ade renovation projects, so the likelihood of diverting existing funds to a new varsity sport is basically zero. (The wisdom of said projects, well ... Mackey has needed modernization for a long time, but I don't understand the point in expanding a stadium that you can't fill in the first place, especially if the end result is going to be higher ticket prices that lead to lower attendance anyway.)

Interest in hockey in Indiana is mixed IME. It's better than it used to be (when we moved to Bloomington in the '70s, the local paper frequently skipped the NHL entirely), but from what I can tell, hockey is somewhere in the distance in terms of support, behind basketball (everywhere), football (moreso around that one city in the north), and soccer (moreso around that town in the south once you get past high school play).

I'm not sure I'd agree with unitedstatesofhockey that support for the Ice has remained constant. The drop to the USHL was significant: of course the quality of play changes, but it also seems like their visibility dropped as well. They still play a couple of times a year in Conseco Fieldhouse, but I don't think they can afford to do that much any more. (Conseco is a far better place to watch than Pepsi Coliseum: it's downtown and modern, whereas the Coliseum is old and on the state fairgrounds, so easy to drive to but not conducive to pre- or post-game activities.) But maybe that would change, too, if the two big public universities in the state moved up to the varsity level.

I'd love to see an eight- or ten-team Big Ten hockey conference ... it might just be a while before that happens.

Wolverine318

March 22nd, 2011 at 6:25 PM ^

I was at Purdue when they announced the Ross Ade expansion. My freshman year was with the press box from hell. Purdue used to have a press box many high schools put to shame. At the time of the original announcement of the Ross Ade expansion, it was planned that the current state of Ross Ade was just step one in the expansion with an upper-deck to come later depending on season ticket sales. You have to remember this announcement was made one year after Drew Brees graduated so football interest was at an all time high along with ND football bottoming out with Davey. Purdue football only had to compete with the colts for football interest in North/Central Indiana. Since then purdue has returned to the basement and purdue bball has regained its prominence.

When  I was at Purdue I used to get ripped on constantly by my friends that are from the state of Indiana for being a hockey fan. They had little if any respect for hockey. Basketball is king in the state, then its the Colts and then ND football.

zlionsfan

March 23rd, 2011 at 4:05 PM ^

that Burke is enthralled with the idea of expansion as his legacy, and that presumably the remaining stages of football stadium construction will go on despite current attendance (and performance) issues.

Still seems like a bad idea to me ... the press box was definitely a needed upgrade, but the last thing a half-empty stadium needs is more seats. (On the other hand, more Michigan, Ohio State, and Notre Dame fans will enjoy the opportunity to see road games.)

But whatever. Burke is, at least, working on improving many/all facilities, not just football and basketball, which is a good sign. Today they posted a video about the work they're doing on the baseball and soccer facilities, so clearly there's some money available for non-revenue sports. Maybe varsity hockey isn't completely out of the question ...

BrownJuggernaut

March 22nd, 2011 at 5:00 PM ^

Anyone else think that part of the defensive woes are related to the fact that we aren't playing with the same urgency defensively? One of the things I noted last season once Hunwick stepped up was the way everyone went after rebounds to clear pucks from the front of the net to protect Hunwick. I don't see that same urgency this year. Against Western, we were letting guys park in front of the net and clean up rebounds. It was embarrassing on all fronts. 

Burlon is out for Friday's game, which is a huge loss. The defense has been pretty stable through out the season, but Burlon's absence has exposed some fragility. He supposedly lost 15 lbs, so I don't know how viable it is for him to be back for the regional final (if we make it) if he can't play Friday. 

The other things I'd have to say are get Lynch of the fourth line so that he can actually contribute so that he doesn't have to play with the DeBloises of the world. More importantly, keep DeBlois off the ice. What does he have, three boarding penalties in two weeks now? He's clearly a liability.

Kudos to the Western fans. They may have "stolen" some of our chants, but we weren't expecting it, and we certainly didn't have a response to what they were saying. Personally was caught totally off-guard. We gotta bring our A-game in the future. 

JustGoBlue

March 22nd, 2011 at 5:28 PM ^

on the defense end urgency and the loss of Burlon.  I think losing Summers for part of that helped that urgency and I think the almost miraculous development of Kampfer from pretty good to NHL-caliber helped with the urgency, I think Kampfer really didn't get as much credit as he probably deserved for his role in the run, picking up his game and setting a good model for the required urgency on defense.  I think we need one guy that's going to commit to playing with that urgency first and then everyone else will feed off of him, I just have no clue who it might be.  Langlais is the obvious choice, but I don't know...

I have mixed feelings about Lynch.  He's been pretty consistently great as a center on the 4th line (partly because of the lines he's playing against, most likely, but also probably some because he's back to playing center), but he never really shown more than flashes as a winger and the centers above him are pretty set in stone.  If we can harness those flashes where he was outstanding, by all means, please in the name of all that is holy, move him up.  If Red is doing things to try and roll 4 lines, than Lynch has to say on the 4th line. 

What did Red do for the ND game?  Something like:

Hagelin-Cappy-Brown

Winnett-Rust-Glendening

Sparks-Treais-Moffatt

Scooter-Lynch-Rohrkemper?

I'm not COMPLETELY opposed to that.  I think three (1,2,4) of our lines are (should be...) really good defensively, the first and third have the potential for some nice offenense, the 2nd maybe not so much, but could capitalize and the 4th line, especially matched up against other 4th lines could do some real damage with Scooter and Lynch down there.  I don't love it, but I don't hate it.  If Red wants to roll 4 lines, that's probably how I would keep it.

Otherwise, obviously put Scooter back with Rust and Glendening.  Lynch would have to go in the third line somewhere, because the other two have been pretty good normally and I think he might fit pretty well with Treais and Sparks/Moffatt, it's just the choice of who you're sending down, which might depend on how much Red wants to play his 4th line.  If it's not a ton, but some, put Moffatt down there and make the third line Sparks-Treais-Lynch, leaving a Moffatt-Winnett-Rohrkemper line, which should be OK defensively for a couple minutes a game.  If Red really doesn't want a 4th line, it becomes a harder debate between Sparks and Moffatt, because I don't think Sparks is good as a 4th liner, but if you're not playing him there, it doesn't matter.  I think you keep Sparks on 3, just because he's been playing really well lately, but Moffatt had several games where he looked downright deadly.

Either way, I think DeBlois is out for the season, barring further injuries.  I think he's at least very close to as good defensively as Rohrkemper and generally looks more dangerous offensively (even if it hasn't come to much for him) but in the NCAA's you just can't afford the risk that he's going to take a dumb penalty that could cost Michigan the game.

BrownJuggernaut

March 22nd, 2011 at 10:03 PM ^

I don't know what Red is thinking, but I pull Lynch off the fourth line and put him with Sparks and AJ on the third line. I feel like part of why we decided to put Lynch at center is to prepare for next season when we lose our top two centers. Right now, the fourth line is bringing nothing to the table. The two options, as I see it, are to spread the depth that we have thinner over the four lines, or to concentrate them in the top three lines. I know Rohrkemper scored a critical goal against ND and he's definitely less of a liability than DeBlois, but the third line has been pretty anemic. Treais had some flashes, Moffat has shown some talent, so has Sparks, but overall, they've been pretty quiet recently. I think Lynch can infuse some energy into that line. 

Of course that makes an already weak fourth line even weaker, but I don't know if we have a choice. You can't really touch the top line because it's been the most consistent from an offensive stand point. You probably want to keep Rust and Glendenning together. You probably keep Treais with one of his current linemates, probably Moffat since he's played with him most of the year. So you can possibly move Scooter, Sparks, Moffat, Winnet, or Lynch around. I'm not going to throw out line combinations because I'm sure we'll see a report from practice sometime this week.

JustGoBlue

March 22nd, 2011 at 5:10 PM ^

column, Burlon is still going to be out this Friday and will likely not even make the trip to St. Louis, according to various Daily writers on the twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/michaelflorek, http://twitter.com/#!/mark_j_burns), according to Berenson.  From the sounds of it, it's an absolutely HORRIBLE reaction.  He's lost more than ¡15! pounds since last Monday and has an enflamed esophagus and can't eat solid foods.  If Michigan is going to advance to St Paul, they're going to need the superbeast-mode Hunwick, Louie "Hey, I finally remembered how to score goals again!" Caporusso, Matt "I've decided to pretend I'm a junior again" Rust, Jon "Don't worry, I re-forgot that I'm a freshman" Merrill, A"T". J. Treais, Kevin "I'm in the post-season playing Miami" Lynch and Chris "I'm out of unfunny fake nicknames, but should probably play really well" Brown versions of those players, along with all the people I'm not mentiong and the people that always show up to play, again showing up to play.  That or a Billy "I'm playing behind a ridiculously loaded team in front of me against not-nearly-as-good Notre Dame in the national semi-finals" Sauer performance from both opposing starting goalies. 

The good news is that we know that each of them can show up, it's just a matter of them all doing it together.  The other good news is that we still have Red and he's not great at losing.

BlueDragon

March 22nd, 2011 at 6:35 PM ^

This post is everything that is wrong with the Michigan online fanbase today.  Just because Michigan came up short in a big game we feel entitled to flame away at players from the safety of a keyboard after they lose a goddamn hockey game.  Classy, you prick.

JustGoBlue

March 22nd, 2011 at 8:13 PM ^

most of the players that played against Western on Friday would tell you themselves that they can play better.  I didn't intend to "flame" anybody. 

Burlon is quite sick.  True.  Hunwick has and needs to play stellar if Michigan is to win.  The postseson always comes down to goaltending.  True.  Cappy has the ability to and needs to score goals, if Michigan is going to win.  You can't win if you don't score.  True.  Matt Rust, who has been arguably the best defensive forward in the nation, with a +22 and a 13-27-40 line his junior year, needs to play more like that since, by contrast this year, he's 5-20-25 and +13.  If Michigan wants to beat good teams like they're facing in the regional, they need their seniors to play as well as they're capable, offensively and defesnsively.  He's done it in bits and spurts this year, but not consistently.  True.  Jon Merrill has made very freshman mistakes the last couple games.  He needs to play more like he did when he earned the Rookie/Offensive Defensemen/Defensive defensemen nominations.  It's hard to win when your top D pairing isn't clicking like they need to and have in past games. True.  A.J, who has been relatively invisible recently, needs to go off like he did in Jan./Feb. when he pretty much carried the team.  Channeling his inner T.J. Hensick, which is there, would help the team win.  True.  Kevin Lynch was dominant in both games against Miami in the post season last year, if he can play like that more often, Michigan would have a better shot of winning.  True.  Chris Brown has been really off and on lately and he needs to be more on to give Michigan a better chance of winning.  True.   I didn't realize it was so taboo to say that players need to play well if they want to win.  The Billy Sauer joke was pretty much uncalled for, I'll grant you that. 

But I don't see the problem in wanting our players to play well.  I didn't call out their effort, I didn't say they flat-out sucked, I didn't attack them in any way, especially out of the rink.  I said they need to play better.   I said they can play better.  I pointed out times when they have played better.  I said that if they want to beat a really good team in UNO and a fantastic team in BC, they will need to play better.  All of that is true.  I'm sorry you're offended on their behalf, but if I thought something like, "BlueDragon needs to post more like he did in late February and MGoBlog would be so much better" and it was applicable to the situation, I would say that, without thinking it was a totally reprehensible comment to make about you after you come up short in a written comment on the internet.

I also think it's kind of ridiculous that, without knowing me at all, you know me well enough to judge that I don't speak my mind to people, regardless of how much they may not like hearing it.  Which is false, by the way. 

JustGoBlue

March 22nd, 2011 at 8:27 PM ^

the consensus, then I cetainly apologize.  That was not my intent at all and it was a poorly considered post.  Personally, I don't think I was out of line and my observations were meant more in humor than with any intent to put any players down and most definitely no mailce, or even frustration.  But if people are taking them like I was being a dick, then I was being a dick.  I don't want that to be my reputation, I don't feel like that represents me and if I could edit my post, I would change it to read, "...If Michigan wants to advance to St. Paul, every player is going to need to be at his best, all at the same time, for both games.  The good news is..." which was really all my point was to begin with.

BlueDragon

March 22nd, 2011 at 8:48 PM ^

Louie "Hey, I finally remembered how to score goals again!" Caporusso, Matt "I've decided to pretend I'm a junior again" Rust, Jon "Don't worry, I re-forgot that I'm a freshman" Merrill, A"T". J. Treais, Kevin "I'm in the post-season playing Miami" Lynch and Chris "I'm out of unfunny fake nicknames, but should probably play really well" Brown

Thank you for not compelling me to cut and paste the Billy Sauer quote as well. I suppose you and I have different interpretations of flaming players. Those nicknames sure feel like flaming, but I suppose every fan has a mental image of each player as a cog in a hypothetical perfect hockey team that never turns over the puck after a bad pass, never gives up a PP goal, never has a bad game, and is almost 110% injury free. Remember that these are not professional, grown men playing hockey out there. Speaking as a former major in the performing arts, there is A TON of physical and mental growth still to be made as a young student at Michigan. Maybe the players had been pushing themselves too hard to win the regular season CCHA title and they were mentally fatigued. Maybe we're seeing the cumulative effect of a long season, full of injuries and heartbreak and triumphs, taking its toll on a group of outstanding student-athletes and their legendary coach. It happens. For my part, I did not say that you had attacked or were planning to attack players outside of the rink. The sarcasm dripping off of your first post was quite vitriolic and I did not feel truly suited the situation. I hate it when MGoPosters commenting on articles sound like post-2008 Rodriguez-era trolls. I am not familiar with your body of work or your cultivated persona on this site, but I will make an effort to learn more about how you speak your mind to other people.

Edit:  Saw exchange with OMG Shirtless above.

JustGoBlue

March 22nd, 2011 at 9:22 PM ^

but though I don't see those as so offensive, I do apologize for them.  Maybe it's the more light, tongue-in-cheek tone I use in my head versus the blatantly sarcastic one that came across.  Trust me, I realize that these are kids, younger than me, that consequently have even more growth than I do, which, as everyone has probably noticed, is quite a bit.  I don't expect them to be perfect, but they've all been that good before, or I wouldn't have said it.  When you used the word,"flame", that's my interpretation, flat out bashing of somebody without real cause or reason, my comments were (poor but) intended as more a constructive criticism way without the constructive part being particularly constructive (score more!  Don't let the other team score!).  Re-reading my first post, I think can see how it other people are reading it and yes, that would make those comments offensive.

I'm not sure I have a "cultivated persona" on the blog, so much, it's more so just my personality in general.  But very rarely do I mean something in an actually insulting way (ocassionally I do towards refs).  If I say the team played horribly and looked completely disinterested, or some such, I do so more as a personal observation, than some attack on anybody.  I get that they aren't perfect, but at the same time, they have bad games and I don't think it's particularly unfair to point out when it happens, nor do I think it's particularly unfair to call out players who played poorly, for much the same reasons.  Merrill played a bit like a freshmen on Friday.  He is a freshman, that's fine, it's going to happen.  But at the same time, I'm going to comment on it, becuase it's unusual for him.  I don't mean to pass judgement.

  I sometimes get too heated when people take what I say in a way I didn't mean, but it's more reactionary because I feel bad that I offended somebody when I honestly didn't mean to.  I like to think that I have have a lot of integrity.  I dislike causing needless pain in any way, but I do respect myself enough to tells it as I sees it and if it offends somebody, I might regret the way I expressed it, but not the sentiments themselves (in this case, I regret being so personal, but the blanket "in order to win everybody has to step it up" stands.  If they don't win, I won't hate them or anything (though I may note that I thought they played poorly), but I think that in order to win, they need to play better than they did this weekend).  I don't have huge problems admitting when I'm wrong, as long as it's obvious to me that I'm wrong and not just misinterpreted.  In this case I think it's a little of both.  I was wrong to use those nicknames, but my intent wasn't to flame or bash or anything along those lines.  And the reason I'm spending the time to write all of this, it because I think it's important that people understand a little bit of where I'm coming from.  That way, perhaps the next time I type something particularly crude, the response will simply be something like, "hey not cool man" and I can re-consider from that, instead of something that is,frankly kind of insulting (that I would flame players, that I represent all that is wrong with the fanbase, that I'm only doing this because I'm protected by anonymity, that I'm a classless prick), if justified because of how my comment was read.

BlueDragon

March 22nd, 2011 at 10:28 PM ^

I've had a chance to stretch my legs and take a walk around the block since I responded to your last post, and upon further reflection, I see where you were coming from.  I didn't parse the meanings of your parody properly and I found it offensive.  Please accept my sincere apologies.

On "flame" and "flaming":  This conversation has crossed in part into META-territory, for me at least.  I never saw a textbook definition of "flaming," but I did see the following Dilbert cartoon once:

flame war

I always thought flaming was more than merely bashing somebody; I always thought it involved trying to elevate oneself over another, like Dilbert who flames Wally to prove that he is a superior engineer. Thus, the "insulting" vibe you got from my response; I personally believe that the fans are always 100% beholden to the players and that we cannot consider ourselves their betters. ...On second thought, looking at the cartoon again, my original definition of "flaming" is pretty much the same as what you had, and I agree that my choice of "flaming" was a poor one. Again, please accept my sincere apologies. As for the online persona bit, remember that we all started building our personae the moment we started posting on the blog. I don't remember ever down-voting you before today, but I probably up-voted you a few times in hockey threads if you were throwing down real analysis of the team :-)

GoBlueFoSho, you brought up a very good point: I really don't know a thing about you except for your posts on this blog, and it's not my place to judge. I went on the attack for no good reason; I honestly should have asked you to clarify your original points. I'll try to give the benefit of the doubt more when posting here. I agree that one of the best features of a message board like this one is the freedom of speech we all share that could not possibly exist in real life (for a variety of reasons). Sometimes on this blog we have all stomped on each others' freedom of speech. Veterans of the CC Meltdown and Michigan Football 2009-2011 know what I'm talking about. What's more important is that we find ways to settle our differences and try to find common ground. It's important to keep the discussion alive, because silence only hurts the program and our collective efforts to become better-informed fans. I hope you better understand where I was coming from when I responded to your original comment.

Yinka Double Dare

March 22nd, 2011 at 6:14 PM ^

"This is why you go to Western" can easily be sung soccer-style to one of the most commonly-used themes, the "Glory Glory Hallelujah" part of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, most famously usually used by Manchester United soccer supporters as "Glory Glory Man United". 

And it isn't like our student section is above singing, given the famous "If you can't get into college go to State" song.

TorontoBlue

March 22nd, 2011 at 6:15 PM ^

Living on this side of the border, you learn quickly that Canadians suffer from "sleeping with the giant" syndrome relative to the US.  They are happy to be side by side with the US for all the benefits it brings them, but worry constantly that the US will roll over one day and squash them.  So they take great pains sometimes to protect their viability.  For example, in picking my cable channels, I must at all times have a government-set percentage of Canadian-made channels in my package.  Etc.  Youth hockey is taken very seriously here and they don't want their best prospects bolting across the border to the land of milk & honey, so they rig it.  That's the genesis, Brian. Until there are more hockey players in the US than in Canada, then they can throw their weight around up here on this issue.   

GO BLUE!

BlueDragon

March 22nd, 2011 at 6:48 PM ^

Depending on the events of this weekend we'll look back at the CCHA finals as a hiccup or the omen that spelled doom, and since our bracket is a team we split with earlier in the season and almost definitely BC it's probably going to be the latter.

This is your old em0 hyperbole and you know it. Remember when you thought the sky was falling after Michigan got swept at Miami of Ohio, and then Michigan swept its next four opponents? It isn't possible to assess the true state of the team with one or even two games, especially if those games are played in Oxford. Especially in a season like this one, where the team, while senior-laden and higly experienced, has been suffering with injuries all season. On Friday, Michigan got a few bad calls and WMU's killer PP did its thing on quasi-neutral ice. Michigan struggled mightily, but the team lost by three goals. It happens to everybody and doesn't call for the kind of doomsday rhetoric that has characterized this blog at times.

lhglrkwg

March 22nd, 2011 at 8:27 PM ^

im nervous about our tourney chances but isnt a hot goalie the first thing youre terrified of meeting in the ncaa tournament? maybe friday fired up hunwick. he sure played like it did on saturday. let's hope he can carry that over

ChalmersE

March 22nd, 2011 at 8:28 PM ^

I spoke to a Nebraka alum today and he indicated Nebraska's regents will be voting shortly on a proposa whereby UNO would join a new conference of midwestern urban-based schools and if they did, that would mean hockey would b e dropped.  He also indicated that the combination of that event and the creation of the Big 10 Hockey Conference might leade Nebraska-Lincoln to reconsider the issue of Division 1 hockey.  I've got no links, but this guy has been pretty reliable.  Indeed, I posted a rumor from him 2+ years ago about Nebraska approaching the Big 10 about joining it.

lhglrkwg

March 22nd, 2011 at 8:49 PM ^

and I just don't see anyway that they're dropping hockey. they're already dropping football and wrestling to move up and hockey is their premier sport which appears to have good fan support. theyre also coming off on of their best years ever

also, lots of people posted rumors about lots of schools thinking about joining the big ten. i don't think nebraska had any indication of actually joining the big ten that long ago

VictorsValiant09

March 22nd, 2011 at 9:49 PM ^

Unless DeBlois does a complete 180 on his conduct and play on the ice, I see no reason why Red should give him any ice time at all.  With Wohlberg now out, the 1st and 2nd lines are in severe need of producing.  Louie has just looked invisible at times this year, and Carl, Scooter, and (recently) Lindsay, can't do everything by themselves.

I agree wholeheartedly that the PK, and in general, defensive urgency need to ratchet up, if we intend to get out of the regionals.

cheesheadwolverine

March 23rd, 2011 at 12:51 AM ^

I don't know if immediate pretourney performance is a good predictor of tournament performance -- someone on a basketball thread told me it wasn't.  But if it isn't we're a talented team.  If it is, we have to remember that we've been great for the second half of the season.  One shit-tastic weekend doesn't change that, especially because we can come up with excuses for both (we overlooked Western and didn't really care against ND).

And, I think the ND game was the best thing that could happen for us.  Huwick was crapola the first game, and with confidence being so important in goaltending, he needed to get it back going into the games that matter.