Still Kicking Comment Count

Brian December 8th, 2008 at 3:52 PM

12/6/2008 – Michigan 6, Michigan State 1 – 10-7 (6-5 CCHA)
12/7/2008 – Michigan 5, Michigan State 3 – 11-7 (7-5 CCHA)

Oh and the hockey team swept Michigan State this weekend, which would normally be a much bigger deal than whatever the basketball team did but there was the whole Duke thing and Michigan State is the hockey equivalent of Michigan's football team this year: shockingly terrible. No grand sweeping column but how about a series of thoughts and so forth and so on:

Brandon Burlon! No one had seen much from Michigan's highest-touted incoming recruit because of an ankle sprain that held him out of the first month and a half and then a series of road games but holy cow, man. Burlon was sick the entire weekend. At Yost there was a sweet behind-the-back pass to an open guy in the slot as Burlon was heading behind the Michigan State net and a sick, sick goal in which he undressed a defender and roofed a backhander shortside. I cannot believe it didn't make that night's highlight reel. Which is here:

Then at Munn he's a critical part of the game-tying goal, leaping into the rush to create a two on one and sliding the puck over to Hagelin for him to bork in to the open bork. He was a second-round pick for a reason; that reason appears to be "is sick with puck."

David Wohlberg! Is also on fire. You can see some of his fine work from Friday night above. On Saturday he combined with Aaron Palushaj to create the game winner; Wohlberg's slick tape-to-tape pass to Caporusso gave him a wide open net to leisurely shoot into for the winner. I think he's found a home on the top line.

Aaron and McInchak. Oh, holy God. This was the sort of thing I was fearing when I heard college hockey would move to two referees. It honestly hasn't been that bad when the CCHA has deployed a crew with one old hand and a promoted linesman. The linesman usually stays out of the way and makes only the really obvious calls.

This abortion of a crew contains two proven incompetents and they reffed like it. Yost Built:

A few minutes later Tristin Llewellyn absolutely planted Crowder as he brought the puck into the zone. He then threw an elbow to Crowder's head for good measure. Crowder retaliated and punched him in the face a few times. Llewellyn did nothing after the initial elbow but was still assessed a Roughing ATW penalty to keep the MSU power play in tact. It was absolutely ridiculous and MSU scored on the subsequent power play, a great shot by Petry over Hogan's shoulder.

Thankfully Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber gave it right back to us a few minutes later. Petry hit Naurato with what looked like a hard, but clean, check and eight seconds later (keep in mind MSU had the puck the whole time) the back referee whistled Petry for elbowing. Petry was all the way at his bench when the whistle went, and he started cracking up. I haven't seen a look of disbelief like that since Jack Johnson's "For what?!" reaction after he got tossed for not hitting Howells from behind.

Word. The game at Yost was incredibly chippy largely because Aaron and McInchak refused to send players for the extra two when they deserved it. David Wohlberg was dragged to the ground by his face mask and then had the crap beaten out of him and there was no power play because Wohlberg did some shoving after he was extricated. That guy should have been gone for fighting; instead he gets a coincidental minor and the rest of the game continues being a bitch-fest. When a freshman skill forward like Czarnik ends up with a misconduct for telling you what an idiot you are, you've probably screwed up.

Negatives. I was not much of a fan of Llewellyn's weekend. His screwup towards the end of the five-minute major Friday sent State on a 2-on-1 and

I have your hat. If you are the intrepid Michigan fan who tossed his hat on the ice after Turnbull's game-clinching empty-netter, I have it. We ate at a place near the arena after the game and happened to sit near the guy who runs the penalty box (and Jeff Lerg), and he bestowed it unto me. So, yeah, if you want it email me and we can arrange a dropoff.

Airing of grievances. All right, it must be said: "Can't Turn You Loose" (the Blues Brothers song) is out of control. Believe me, no one loves it more than I do but there's something wrong when you're playing it during the first intermission and then in the second intermission it lasts seven minutes. It is way too much and actually verges on annoying, which is sad because in proper doses it's one of the best traditions at Yost. Just not for 30 minutes every game.

Also, the "everyone dances" thing was cool at the end of last year but I miss it when there was one cajoled fat guy or nutball in a costume who would dance for our amusement. Now it's just "hey look at everybody moving around sort of." Even the return of Superfan could not restore order.

Also also what in the hell is with the band director deciding that "Let's Go Blue" really needs to be played at triple speed? The whole band has been a disaster this year. The student section can hardly hear it in its new location. The director is killing Can't Turn You Loose, thinks playing "YMCA" is a good idea, and has for some inexplicable reason decided to make it impossible to clap along with Michigan's oldest cheer.

And no one is yelling at him to dance. This is letting the terrorists win. When Michigan is winning comfortably you yell at the band director to dance. He won't until this Haithcock guy is gone, but one day the students will be yelling at the band director to dance because that's what they always do despite the fact that he never dances and the band director will dance and cancer will be cured. Do not let terrorist cancer win. Yell at the band director to dance.

The situation. Michigan has hit the halfway point and it's amazing how much that one stupid game against Western changes the situation. Win that and you're 12-6, well on track to make the tournament and still in with a chance at the CCHA. At 11-7, though, it's kind of ugly. Michigan needs to get their crap together and make a push starting now otherwise making the tournament will be touch and go all season. It's ridiculously early for this sort of thing, but Michigan sits #18 in the current pairwise rankings. (Top four: Northeastern(!), Princeton(!!), Vermont(!!!) and Cornell(!!!!)).

The next four games will be huge. Michigan rolls into the GLI with the best record of any of the participants. They open with Tech, which has gone from respectable back to awful (2-13-1 and a –33 goal differential) and then face either Michigan State, who you know is struggling, or North Dakota. North Dakota is normally a bear of an opponent but this year they're just 7-8-1 and have a goal differential of +1 and that's after murdering Harvard 10-1 on Friday. They'll be down Rust and Palushaj but it's not exactly a loaded tournament this year.

Then they get Miami at Yost in January, which will be the biggest series of the year by far. Sweep them and Michigan is suddenly five points back with two games in hand and is in the thick of the CCHA race. Get swept and they're out of it, looking for home ice in the first round, and staring down the barrel of a tourney miss. Much hinges on the next four games.

Comments

jamiemac

December 8th, 2008 at 4:25 PM ^

Thanks for the Hockey post, Brian.

Now, when you say the band has been a disaster all year, you are also talking about football season as well.....right?

At least, I think we have a band during football games....I have not heard them in a couple of seasons.

UM should romp the GLI.....weak field.....great breakdown regarding what is at stake over the next 4 games.

I'm very excited for Miami as I will be going to to the Friday night game!!!! If anyone is going, we'll be coming into town early to grab dinner, and all are welcome to join us.

Go Blue!!!

jgunnip

December 8th, 2008 at 4:42 PM ^

The band this year tilts me so hard for all the reasons you mentioned. The only bright spot is that they're not getting their tunes going before the penalty chant a good portion of the time.

All fans in favor of band relocation to old spot sign below. I can't think of one good reason why it was even moved in the first place.

/band rant

woo weekend muppets woo!!

Callahan

December 8th, 2008 at 4:55 PM ^

The band director was awful in football season too. You know what's embarrassing? When your band plays "Temptation" and the students do the "You Suck" thing when the other team drove the ball the length of the field but had to settle for a field goal. Or when the other team is up by 20 points and is just trying to run out the clock in the fourth quarter. Next season, let's just keep to the three and outs.

Spaceman Spiff

December 8th, 2008 at 10:34 PM ^

than they guy who directs the band on football Saturdays in the Big House.

The changes in the band are coming from the Athletic Department taking advantage of a regime change in the band. The new directors don't know all of the old traditions, and the Athletic Department is finally getting a chance to implement the changes they've been wanting to see for years.

If you have complaints, take it to the AD, not the band.

pz

December 8th, 2008 at 5:02 PM ^

Approval for any and all hockey-related material, even if we're not at the top of the heap this year. As we saw this weekend, there is certainly upside.

As for the band... well... I think its a combination, but I'm strongly in favor of keeping the criticism on the director. That noise makes it up the chain eventually... it clearly isn't the students' fault. The new location is pretty unfortunate (as is the one in the football stadium, frankly).

As for Temptation... it is traditionally played after a 3rd down stop, and should continue to be played as such. What IS awful is students adding the "you suck" to it. That should end.

Sparky79

December 8th, 2008 at 5:08 PM ^

The Blues Brothers theme traditionally used to be played before the game during warm ups for many, many years. When it moved it to the second intermission, I didn't mind too much since Superfan would dance and provide some entertainment (he used to dance when it was before the game, too, but not to as big an audience). But doing what they did this past weekend, yeah, that's overdoing it.

Of course, losing the band director dance sucked...thank you Mr. 'Cock.

Even chants, like the Black Hole chant, for instance, used to only be done ONE TIME per game... in the third period if we were winning (kind of like the band director dancing, only if we were winning). Now it's done about 50 times per game, even when we're losing (!). IMO, it loses some of its luster, but I guess whatever keeps the fans loud and involved.

SpartanDan

December 8th, 2008 at 5:31 PM ^

Totally agreed on the referees. I didn't see this weekend's games (hooray grad school in the middle of freakin' nowhere), but the very idea of those two referees working a game together is nightmare fuel. Aaron might be the absolute worst referee in any sport, anywhere, at any level. He makes NBA refs look spectacular. McInchak isn't a whole lot better, although at least with him the penalty is usually not on the player who got cross-checked.

Bando Calrissian

December 8th, 2008 at 5:36 PM ^

This whole band thing is part of a larger trend in the Marching and Athletic Bands to make things as cheesy and "everyone else does it!" as possible. Blues Brothers should be 2nd intermission only, after one random song and Respect. There should be NO announcer for hockey band (because introducing Freebird as "a song that needs no introduction!" over the PA is kind of defeating the purpose, right?). Let's Go Blue at triple time is AWFUL. YMCA? Seriously?

And, while we're on the subject of pep bands, the basketball band playing that "Hey, baby!" song is just about the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen. We're not Penn State. or some high school.

Yes, boo the director. Write emails and letters. Make your displeasure known. I feel bad, as a veteran of the hockey band, but it's ridiculous. A lot of people worked really hard for a long time to make the hockey band -not- lame, and all of it has been eliminated.

kwolverine10

December 8th, 2008 at 9:09 PM ^

I recommend booing the people making the decisions for the band to play YMCA, lots of Blues Brothers, and other cheesy music, and I can tell you, it isn't the director of the Hockey Band.

Send your emails and letters in the direction of the Athletic Department. The band directors meet with them every week, and Bill Martin and crew give them the songs they want played. Also including "Hey Baby" at the basketball games.

Bando Calrissian

December 8th, 2008 at 9:29 PM ^

There was a point in time when the phrase "The Band doesn't take requests" was the credo of the Michigan Marching and Athletic Bands. I heard it spoken by administration at every level of the food chain, and it was repeated ad nauseum to anyone who walked up and asked us to play X, Y, or Z song at any given time.

With the change in administration in the past two years, that credo has been shot to hell, with a price tag being put on requests for hockey game music (call the office of development about that one-- you even get tickets on the blue line to hear your choice!) and even performances of the full marching band (playing tailgates for, literally, pennies on the way to and from the Stadium)...

I understand Athletics foots the bill, but the integrity of the band program is more important than what Sports Marketing things will pump up the crowd. The Band cannot bend over for their every will and turn into a jukebox. Which is basically what the Basketball Band is doing with playing samples of the music for the "text your choice!" promotion.

I'm sorry. I was in the band program for 4 years, gave every ounce of my spare time and emotional well-being for the Michigan Bands because I believed in what it stood for and the integrity it projected, something that has been rooted in over 100 years of tradition and excellence. I have been watching the marching band, basketball band, and hockey band my entire life as a spectator at, literally, hundreds of games. It's embarrassing to watch this. It really is. It wasn't like this until a certain director got here, and I don't think it can be denied that there has been a significant change in focus and attitude since that transition happened.

Keep those cards and letters coming to Prof. Haithcock, although they'll just get tossed into the "we had a bad football season, people aren't happy" bin.

ecormany

December 8th, 2008 at 5:56 PM ^

i'm a Michigan alumnus now in my second year of grad school at Cornell. i managed to get hockey tickets this year, and trust me, even the dumbed down Yost experience sounds better than Lynah, although it does worry me. (at Cornell, nobody even knows the damn chants yet. Michigan took them and made them significantly better, so yes i have a head start, but how hard is it to learn that it's "sieve" x7 and "it's all your fault" x4? they just keep going until people change or stop.)

also, i've been listening to lots of the Michigan games (on my iphone while AT the most recent Cornell game, which was a bit surreal) and noticed many of these Bad Things. i must say, although it may be increasingly accurate, my biggest peeve is the student section doing "ref you suck" after every penalty taken. sometimes we trip people. sometimes we hook people. sometimes, believe it or not, Shegos and McInchak and all the others are right. shut up and cheer on the penalty kill.

Hard Gay

December 8th, 2008 at 7:14 PM ^

They played blues brothers 3 times in one intermission. Extreme tempo Lets Go Blue and YMCA are fine but you can't play one song three times in one intermission and then play it again the next intermission.

Nanite517

December 9th, 2008 at 1:35 PM ^

If there in one thing we should have all learned this season is we don't like change. Yeah the band has moved locations and it's not conducive to the big house nor yost but it was at the discretion of the athletic department because they wanted a larger band for more sound. You should talk to the people next to the band at Yost...they will tell you the band is pretty damn loud.

As far as the new things that are going on at yost, it again goes back to change. So what if the student section now dances to "Can't Turn You Loose"? Is there something somewhere that says no more than one person can dance? Do you all even listen to the student section? They love the song and they are always calling for it. I do agree that last weekend was a bit much but whatever...I don't think it allows the band to be called awful. The director thing, I mean give it a rest. The director will never dance no matter what you say, and how is yelling at him to dance *winning or losing* a good tradition? It's pointless and it will get you no where. Give it a rest. It is not the directors fault for the things that have been going on with the band this season. I for one think the band is creating a great atmosphere. They are playing songs that are more appropriate to the atmosphere * remember when they played Piano Man after a penalty* and they are getting the student section, the section that cheers the most, into the game more.
As for the student section and their deal, well good luck trying to get 2,000 people to stop doing something just because of a few sour apples who have a bad taste in their mouth. Sac up and enjoy the game.

maracle

December 8th, 2008 at 9:52 PM ^

Have you ever been to a game at Lynah (Cornell's building)? It is pretty intense, and since I've seen you visiting a few other team's venues recently I'd suggest adding it to your list.

Unfortunately, you'd need to drive to Ithaca, aka the middle of nowhere.

ecormany

December 8th, 2008 at 10:59 PM ^

it's true, Lynah is probably the smallest step down from Yost of anyplace i could have possibly gone to school after Michigan. nevertheless, it doesn't quite have the cohesive feel that the Yost student section brings. at Yost, EVERY on-ice action has a corresponding cheer, and they pour one into another. there is just no substitute for the Victors-Goal Count-Cowbell sequence.

all in all, definitely worth the stop if you happen to be in central NY.

SpartanDan

December 8th, 2008 at 11:59 PM ^

I've been pretty impressed with the student section at Mariucci on the occasions I've been able to go there (and with that being over Thanksgiving, I'm sure I didn't even get the full force of it).

The Yost crowd is something else, though. I wish we could get it half that crazy at Munn, but unless it's against Michigan there's no comparison at all. (On the other hand, the only games I've been to at Yost are MSU-Michigan games, so I'm probably seeing Yost at its best.)