The Situation: Hockey Comment Count

Brian February 23rd, 2009 at 10:01 AM



So I have three options:

  1. Spend another 1000 words complaining that college hockey/basketball referees have it in for me, personally, even though I didn't do anything to them.
  2. Ignore the fact we got hosed and write a bunch of words about something else.
  3. Do an uber-bullets with a little of 1 but mostly 2.

Since I've already done #1 and #2 we'll do #3, keep the bitching a little muted, and coldly evaluate where things stand.

Somehow it didn't hurt us much. Michigan is still tied for second in the PWR rankings , but this time they're tied with Notre Dame. Since Notre Dame has the comparison, they would win the tiebreaker and get to go to Grand Rapids. There's still a long way to go and a lot of bits to flip, obviously, but Michigan didn't shoot down into the two-seeds like I feared.

…on the surface. Where the two hose-jobs from the CCHA really hurt is in the details. Michigan's comparison with ND:

Pts Michigan vs. Notre Dame Pts
0 0.5706 RPI 0.5828 1
1 1 H2H 1 1
0 0.6000
TUC 0.5556
0 0.6500
COP 0.7955
1   Total   3

Even if Michigan picks up an extra point when ND gets enough TUC games for that factor to count, the Common Opponents factor is gone and Michigan would have to pass ND in RPI to take the comparison. That's going to be very tough, since ND has about a two game lead. ND is playing Michigan State this weekend, unfortunately, and will be hard pressed to leave any points on the ice.

Getting hosed has basically cost us the ND comparison and with it just about any chance Michigan ends up in Grand Rapids. Without the four (FOUR! FOUR! FOUR! FOUR!) preposterously allowed/disallowed goals Michigan has endured over the last month Michigan is up 3-1 in this comparison and just about impregnable.

So our best hope is for something weird in ND's comparisons.  The reason Notre Dame is tied with Michigan, not ahead of them, is their comparison with Vermont, which they lose despite a massive RPI advantage:

Pts Notre Dame vs. Vermont Pts
1 0.5828 RPI 0.5582 0
0 0 H2H 0 0
0 0.5455
TUC 0.5500
0 0.5000
COP 0.6875
1   Total   2

This is a PWR specialty: ignoring a huge gap in one category that takes every game into account—RPI—in favor of two narrow gaps in categories featuring far fewer games. Notre Dame has some vulnerable comparisons:

  • Miami swept ND, so that comparison is tied at two. There is no TUC comparison because ND is only 6-3 for that comparison (H2H wins are removed from TUC, for some reason). Miami has two against OSU; sweep there and find an ND TUC loss or two somewhere and Miami can take it.
  • ND also lost to Denver earlier in the year; that COP comparison is tied and the TUC opponents are borderline.
  • Minnesota is tied w/ Notre Dame on Common Opponents and both finish their season with teams the other has played, so there's some wiggle. Minnesota is currently .500 against TUC and has an opportunity to better themselves.
  • NoDak has a TUC edge and is tied on COP, but ND plays MSU this weekend and getting more than a split would give it to ND.
  • Northeastern wins COP and is slightly behind in TUC.

None of these comparisons is particularly close to flipping—and the Vermont one is basically a coin toss—but if ND ends up losing any two of these and Michigan holds on to its current spot GR is possible. It's not likely, but it's possible. You're rooting for the six teams listed above and Michigan State.

And about the stuff on the ice.

It's nice that the grinders are scoring and so forth and so on, but Palushaj and Caporusso haven't been scoring of late and that has to give you some pause. The thing this Michigan team lacks is that one top-end forward that you desperately want on the ice when you're trailing late. See: Hensick, Porter, Kolarik, Cammalleri, Comrie, et al. This year I know I'd like to see Caporusso and Palushaj and Sidekick, I guess, but more because I know they have a lot of points and must obviously be pretty good at getting them. They lack that je ne sais quoi.

Yes, this may be a dumb criticism to level at two guys tied for sixth nationally in scoring.

We suck so bad on two on ones. Speaking of: the Hensick years totally spoiled me as far as two-on-ones go. Hensick had the magical ability to maneuver himself in such a way that the defender couldn't block the pass nor could the goalie poke it and then it was just on the other guy's stick and all the other guy had to do was shovel it into an open net. They had a ridiculous conversion rate on those. This year I can't remember a single goal from a two-on-one. I'm not even totally excited about them anymore.

Okay, the goalie debate is not so much a debate. Hogan played very well on the weekend, though I'd prefer it if he stopped letting pucks leak through his body and ponderously wander towards the net where they can be illegally kicked in. Assuming that's a fluke, though, whatever questions there were in the goalie situation after Hogan gave up 3 goals on 11 shots against UNO and got pulled were resolved when 1) it was clear Hogan was ill last week and 2) he had a couple of impressive games against OSU. Even if the two were playing at exactly the same level, you go with the guy who hasn't imploded in the last two NCAA tournaments.

Brandon Naurato? It's not quite the same as benching Manny Harris for overtime, but the inexplicable reinsertion of Brandon Naurato into the lineup was, well, inexplicable. Even if Lebler is injured or something, I'd go with Ciraulo, who's done something other than take bad penalties in the past six months.



February 23rd, 2009 at 10:23 AM ^

At extreme risk of exposing the fact that I know (some) French, and further being accused of having run out of English to nitpick, it's "je ne sais quoi." ("I don't know what.") That phrase translates, sort of, to "I not it is what."


February 23rd, 2009 at 10:37 AM ^

Caporusso hasn't scored as much the second half of the season, but he has balanced out his game as you'll note his assist total has gone way up.

And when he does score, the referees decide to take it away for no reason, so what can you do?


February 23rd, 2009 at 10:45 AM ^

Would it possible to win the Notre Dame comparison if (when..) we beat them in the CCHA Finals? The early round games should get them over the TUC hump and then we would take the head-to-head points too.

Yinka Double Dare

February 23rd, 2009 at 11:11 AM ^

Unlikely. They win the common opponent and RPI (probably) still, so a win over them would make it a tie. And I'm pretty sure ties in the PWR are broken by the RPI, so ND would win the comparison for the purposes of the PWR.

However, if that comparison meant that we were tied with ND in the PWR, the committee could exercise discretion and place us above ND if they wanted -- they don't have to slavishly apply the PWR, and in a case where two tied teams played each other three times and one of the teams won twice, including a very recent neutral ice win in the conference tourney, I wouldn't be shocked to see them give the advantage to the team that was better H2H. Especially if it was to send UM to GR, as we'll draw better attendance, and I'm sure the committee is aware of the mystifying ref errors that led to Notre Dame's one win.


February 23rd, 2009 at 1:37 PM ^

South Bend isn't really appreciably closer to GR than AA is. Difference is about 10-15 miles. Besides that, Notre Dame is a much much smaller school than U-M (about 1/4 to 1/3 the size) and not as full of hockey fans, and besides that, ND alums don't really populate GR and the surrounding areas in Michigan as much as U-M alums do.

Yinka Double Dare

February 23rd, 2009 at 5:10 PM ^

Quite simply, we have far more fans. Notre Dame hockey has been relevant for less than 10 years. Their arena holds fewer than 3000 fans, and they never really needed more space until recently (and now are building a new arena for hockey). We have been to the tournament for 18 (soon to be 19) consecutive seasons. We have regularly filled a 6500 seat arena for home games for many years now.

That, and it's in Michigan. If it were in Chicago, there would be more Notre Dame fans around, but honestly, how many Notre Dame folks are even aware of the hockey team? Many of them were there when the team was either lousy or just a club team.


February 23rd, 2009 at 11:54 AM ^

I've heard the cost of cameras being an excuse for the archaic replay system, but every stadium has a sound system. Would it be too much for the refs to give an explination for the replay decision to the crowd, ala NHL or NFL? Maybe it would hold the refs and/or the CCHA more accountable.


February 23rd, 2009 at 12:08 PM ^

"Would it be too much for the refs to give an explination for the replay decision to the crowd, a la NHL or NFL? Maybe it would hold the refs and/or the CCHA more accountable."

Rule 5-3-e already requires it: "If a goal is disallowed for any violation of the rules, the referees shall report the reason for the disallowance to the official scorer, who shall announce the referees' decision over the public-address system."

Also, from the replay procedures in Appendix C: "The referee will provide a brief description of the reason the goal was disallowed and this shall be announced."


February 23rd, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

Between the histrionics over Conboy/Tropp and the kvetching about the (admittedly) bad calls, I feel like I'm on an internet message board here.


February 24th, 2009 at 12:11 AM ^

... is that common opponents has no minimum games requirement like TUC does. For instance, BU gets a point for going 2-0 against common opponents with Air Force while Air Force is 4-1. (Of course, this being Air Force we're talking about, BU should be miles ahead anyway - but the same situation often comes up in closer comparisons where it could actually matter, like Northeastern getting a point against Notre Dame for being 6-0-1 compared to 5-0-1.) Random non-conference games count for a ridiculous amount as a result: if Random GLI Fourth Team is from out east and they happen to be the only team you play from that conference, that game can flip half a dozen common-opponents comparisons by itself. One game should not be worth a full seed line.

I like that there's a fully objective selection method (it keeps the Boeheim-esque complaints by the last teams out to a minimum), but this one has some serious warts.