M Hockey vs #7 western Open Thread (Live on CBS Sports)

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on December 14th, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Michigan NEEDS a win this weekend or this season is reallllllllyyy scary the rest of the way.

Per @umichhockey on twitter, they will have a moment of silence pregame for the tragedies in Connecticut. 

Comments

JustGoBlue

December 15th, 2012 at 10:34 AM ^

Partly because last year they ended up with a one-seed.  Which yah, a lot due to Hunwick, but that's not really making the tournament "almost in spite of ourselves". They played good hockey for a decent part of that season.  Partly because nobody that ever has any real contact with the program ever has ever entertained that as a possible reason when it's been thrown out.  Parly becuase as good as Mel is, Red, Billy and Brian know what they're doing, too.  Partly just because they're SO bad this year.  I could maybe see the argument if it was a relatively slow decline, but this is just a complete and utter mess.  That's a covergence of a whole ton of things, not entirely attributable to the leaving of one assistant coach. 

When Mel left, I was most concerned over how Michigan was going to replace his recruiting.  Looking at the classes for the next few years (which are considerably better than the classes from the last few years), I'm not really concerned about that anymore.

The coaching staff Michigan has now is not really shitty, that I promise.

Professor Prepuces

December 15th, 2012 at 2:50 PM ^

You might also consider how Mel Pearson has improved Tech's record in his brief tenure.  And, though it is anecdotal, there was talk for many years that Red was more of a figurehead and that his assistants did most of the day to day coaching.  And there is this curious Michigan Daily article from 2003 which suggests that Berenson in fact retired.

Some speculated that Pearson, who seemed Berenson's heir apparent, left for Tech because he lacked head coaching experience and The Pizza Man has made it clear that he values coaching experience.  Thus a successful stint at Tech would groom Pearson for The Big Job when Berenson chooses to step down.

This is almost pure conjecture and allusion.  How much truth lies therein?  I certainly don't know.  Certainly Pearson is a quality coach.  But is Michigan's failures on the ice because of his abscence?  Good programs have down years now and then.  One season post National Championship the Badgers found themselves out the tournament.  The Michigan run is remarkable.  Perhaps this would happen if Pearson were still on the staff.  Maybe this is simply bad puck luck and the lack of a big time goalie.  If Michigan were to sit out of the tournament this season it wouldn't break my heart as much as losing the National Championship in overtime to Minnesota-Duluth.

 

Don

December 15th, 2012 at 11:20 AM ^

I think the fact that it hasn't been a slow decline is actually more supportive of the notion that his departure has had an impact, since he's been gone about only about 1.5 seasons or so. If the decline had been over several years it would be an argument that his leaving isn't that big a deal.

As far as anyone with close contact with the program not mentioning Mel's departure as a factor, I wouldn't expect anybody in that situation to, since it can be interpreted as a criticism of the current staff. Regardless, by no means am I an expert on the team, and I'm just raising the question partially out of puzzlement with how things have fallen apart this season.

In a rough way it's analogous to the 1984 season in Michigan football. Harbaugh broke his arm in a loss to MSU, and the season seemed to go in the dumper after that. Going 6-6 was simply unheard of for Bo, and if the internet had been around we'd all be trying to figure out if he had lost his mojo. There is one difference, though: in '84, Bo was 55, whereas Red is now 73.

JustGoBlue

December 15th, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

we'll have to disagree on the time frame.  I don't think losing 1/4 of an immensely successful staff, replacing him with someone who is, on paper, very qualified, should result in an immediate and dramatic worsening. 

By close contact to the program, I don't mean just coaches and players and AD staff and all that.  I'm talking about Spath/Miller/media types who have been around forever, aren't at all afraid to criticize anything and everything and still have nothing but positive things to say about the staff and Red.  And his age isn't a problem.  If Red thought anybody, anywhere, could do a better job than him, Red would be out and somebody else would be in. 

Honestly, my best shot at someone to pin it on, and it sounds just as crazy to me, is Hunwick.  Michigan shouldn't have made the tournament a few years ago, running through the CCHA finals.  They weren't good.  The team rallied around Hunwick, he made some magic and kept alive a streak that should have died then.  The next few years were a little better, but Hunwick masked a ton of mistakes.  The defense was good, numerically, last year, but every game I saw in person, I saw a lot of good opportunities that Hunwick somehow managed to turn aside, along with keeping out everything he should keep out.  He was incredible.  The defense, I was less impressed with, for the most part.  But everybody thought they were good, they thought they were good.  Now, Hunwick is gone, both the heirs apparent are in the CHLand we have two average-at-best goalies who are NOT masking any defensive deficiencies like Hunwick did the last few seasons and letting in more than a few goals that are pretty weak.  Now, nobody has any confidence in anyobdy, especially the team in the goalie.  They're running around, pressing, everyone trying to be a hero instead playing together and trusting the other guy to do his job, so defensively, guys are left glaringly open, offensively there's no rhythym and everywhere passing is atrocious and the communication is non-existant.  And it's only getting worse. They played well against Miami and the game at home against State, but since getting annhilated at Munn, it's been all downhill, rapidly.