Sunday, February 24, 2008

A tale of two games

Disclaimer: i know the title is ridiculously cliche, but this isn't a newspaper for pete's sake it's a blog.

All cliche's and things aside the two games were truly contrasting to each other. If anybody could take momentum our of this game, it was the maize and blue. Taking a loss like that against an arch rival like Michigan State was incredibly disheartening for the Wolverines. I wasn't in the locker room, and unfortunately for the purposes of this blog, my parents don't have cable, so i was unable to watch the first game. But from what i read on the Daily's blog about the game it was a very sad sight for Billy Sauer to give up five goals on 22 shots was enough to remind any observer of last year's letdowns. However Sauer proved once again that he is not the goalie he was last year.

In Friday's game the story was Jeff Lerg in the first two periods. By the end of the second period he had stopped nearly 30 shots on goal while only giving up one goal with his team clinging to a one goal lead despite having only 10 shots. It was tough, but like i said before he's the little goalie that could, which made me feel a little bit guilty singing along to the "Midget Goalie" chant that the Michigan fans in the Joe were chanting.

Despite the fact that most games the Spartans win are games in which they score three or more goals, they are not an explosive offensive team. The play their tempo and more often then not they are able to dictate the pace of the game from there and use it to their advantage. They were able to do that in Friday's game and in part of the second period of Saturday's but Michigan outplayed them towards the end.

Getting into what happened Saturday, Michigan did something in the first period they failed to do in their first three games against State, they scored. As a matter of fact my mom and i had only been sitting down for a few minutes when this happened because we had to walk halfway around the Joe from the Gordie Howe entrance to find our seats. It was worth the walk. We were a 1 1/2 sections away from the pep band and the overwhelming majority of fans in our area were wearing the yellow and blue.

Tim Miller scored his first goal of the season, taking a huge step towards earning back the alternate captain title he lost a few weeks ago to Mark Mitera. Aaron Palushaj scored the second in a fashion that reminded me that he might become Michigan's next offensive defenseman in the mold of Jack Johnson (could it be???? **gasp**).

Other impressive performances were turned out by Michigan's Travis Turnbull, who despite not having any points this past weekend proved once again that he's the fastest skater on the team. His draft stock will definitely be boosted by the way he's played this season. If he can acquire moves similar to the ones that Porter and Kolarick have in addition to the deadly speed that he already has should be a either a deadly force in the CCHA next year, or a first round draft pick, or both.

Michigan has several things to take positively out of this huge series:

No.1. They don't have to play MSU at Munn until next year
No.2. They finally proved that they can beat State, and not only did they do that, they beat them at the Joe, which is the only logical place they'll play them next.
No.3. The third period was the most physical period they've played in all year that they've won. Michigan doesn't have a ton of big men up front or in back, but on Saturday they showed a lot of heart on the fore and back check, their hits were hard clean, precise and they were not penalized during the period at all. (side note: it seemed the refs were letting both teams play in general, cause i don't remember there being a single penalty called on either team despite the fact that they were knocking each other over every chance they got.)

Things that Michigan can't take positively out of this weekend:

-Kevin Porter has never beaten MSU on the road in his college career equating him with a level of Chad Henne like frustration.
-Miami swept Western Michigan as expected, and Michigan still has yet to wrap up the CCHA regular season championship. (Though they are closer Saturday then they were on Friday.)

All in all, the icers have a week where they have no classes and nothing but time to prepare for their season finale against Ferris State. In the last couple of weeks the Bulldogs have been a team that has been equated with the phrase, expect the unexpected. After last year's last place finish, they didn't appear to make a huge improvement, then they took three out of four points against a stumbling Notre Dame team. Then a week later they swept Miami and were riding a huge hot streak before they lost to Bowling Green on Saturday. Ferris State was ranked on the Inside College Hockey polls last weekend, the top four teams in the conference are already locked up for their first round byes, and the Bulldogs want to take a bite out of the Wolverines going into the playoffs, that will be as much preview as i am going to give, because i highly doubt i'll see either game next weekend, barring some kind of divine providence or big paycheck, i don't see it happening anytime soon.

Sorry i don't have pictures right now, it's break, i had midterms and i'm feeling particularly lazy. Normally i write this blog as soon as the series ends, but not this week.



Friday, February 22, 2008


Meeeeeeechigan versus Michigan State.

You know i had to do it.

Last month around this time Michigan lost three out of four points to the Michigan State Spartans in a hard fought down and dirty hockey rivalry series. Both teams would get lucky that they came away with points. Michigan State got the lone goal of the Friday game on a shot that bounced off of Mark Mitera's stick for the Spartans first win at Yost in four years, and i'm still mad about it. Fortunately for the Wolverines, the Spartans would return Mitera's favor as one of their defensemen batted the puck into his own net with his HAND! That game would end in a 2-2 tie.

Since then Michigan tied Northern twice, whereas MSU has gone 3-3 with losses coming against UNO and a sweep by Northern. Michigan is coming off a very high note compared to State. They took three out of four against Miami. Both teams however are currently coming off of sweeps of CCHA bottom feeders in Lake Superior State and Western Michigan.

There are two major psychological advantages for Michigan going into this game. The first is the revenge factor; Michigan doesn't like to lose at home when they do it really pisses them off (pardon my french). The Wolverines are the number 1 team in the nation and the only team they've played so far this year that they haven't beaten is MSU their biggest rival. Secondly, the Wolverines are two points away from their first CCHA regular season title since 2005, i know that it hasn't been a long time for the team necessarily, but with the considerably low expectation level the media gave them at the beginning of the year due to the departures of T.J. Hensick, Jack Johnson, Andrew Cogliano and Matt Hunwick. Michigan's relative youth compared to the other CCHA elite teams is a big motivator when it comes to playing them. The fact that no one knew what level the large freshmen class would be at has proven to be a pleasant surprise for those in A2.

Michigan needs only two point against this Michigan State team, and i think they'll get at least two. If that's all they get, i'm hoping that it's at the Joe on saturday, because me and my mom will be there cheering on the maize and blue and doing our favorite dance. The moose.

P.S. i don't have any of the youtube videos saved to my computer unfortunately, please just click the links.



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kevin Quick: Why??????

The way Kevin Quick played was really helpful to the Michigan hockey team. Hanging back at the point, and when the offense couldn't hold it in and the opponents thought they had a chance at a rush for the goal Kevin Quick could be depended to hang back and stop it.

When Red Berenson announced that Kevin Quick was suspended from the team for "A gross violation of team trust..." that apparently, "hadn't been the first time that it happened." The first thing i thought was, "i wonder what Red means."

My initial assumption was drugs, either steroids or narcotics. But it was wrong, completely wrong as it turns out. The reason he was kicked off the team was because he stole his roommate's credit card to pay off his own debts. His roommate: Carl Hagelin.

I can only imagine the scene after Hagelin after he found out.

setting: Yost locker room after practice, Hagelin recieves a phone call from the credit card company that his credit card has been used without his permission.
Hagelin: Hey roomie did you use my credit card
Quick: yeah, man we talked about that right?
Hagelin: yeah and i specifically told you, no.
Quick: yeah well i needed to do it anyways.
Hagelin: Kevin, Why do you feel the need to do this? Why don't you ask your mom for money? You know Sweden's just like any other place in the world, money doesn't grow on trees, just cause we got free health care doesn't mean we've all got a million bucks to lend out.
Quick: sorry man, i just thought we had an understanding.
Red: something going on fellas?
Hagelin: yeah, Kevin just stole my credit card again.
Red: Whaddya mean again?
Hagelin: he's always bagging on me for money, talking about how cause i'm Swedish i automatically get free stuff at Ikea, which i don't. And then he goes off and uses my card to pay off stuff anyways.
Red: Kevin, what the hell do ya think you're doing? Carl works just as hard as you do, but you feel the need to take from him? There's no need to have that attitude here at Michigan, pack your bags you're coming w/ me!

Like i said i can only imagine what happened. I'd be surprised if the two didn't go at it and Hagelin didn't try any of those super-secret Swedish army techniques on an unsuspecting Kevin Quick, not a good guy to mess with.



Sunday, February 17, 2008

Spell this Buckeye fans: M-I-C-H-I-G-A-N


WHAT DOES IT SPELL????????????????????



Sorry if i sound a little carried away, i just rushed the court after the Maize and Blue's great upset over the hated overlording Buckeyes of Ohio State. Led by Manny "er-a er-a Fresh er-a er-a Fresh" Harris' 27 points, the Wolverines made it great to be in the state of Michigan for Big Ten basketball fans who don't root for the school in E. Lansing. An amazing game that just showed the possibility that this team can comeback and break the dreaded curse of Ed Martin. Let's go to the recap.

I bought two tickets to the game and was supposed to meet someone there, but they didn't show up, i went in anyway. It was back and forth throughout the first half with neither team able to get an advantage higher than five, with about 25 seconds left in the first half we took a 38-36 lead, ten seconds later they answered and we couldn't, the score at halftime was tied.

I was sitting in the section next to the Buckeye fans at Crisler, so i kept on hearing these four letter chants of some state to the south of us (you know the one i'm talking about). I retorted "How do you spell our school?"

Rich Rodriguez made a speech at halftime but i couldn't hear it cause the disrespectful buckeye fans kept yelling Tressel. We told em have some respect, you'll be working for us one day. All i heard Rodriguez say was "I'm not going to make a prediction." That was a bitter disappointment for me, my attitude towards that school in Columbus is if they if they start biting at you, bite back.

The second half started and we wasted little time in driving to the basket fairly consistantly and also making a concerted effort to contest all of the Buckeye shots. Thanks to the stellar defense of Ekpe Udoh, Manny Harris and Deshawn Sims the men in the maize and blue built a 58-48 lead before OSU made a 10-2 run. At this critical juncture in the game it was the freshest Manny of em all to drive to the bucket and draw the ever crucial foul, it was the second to last foul the nuts had to give, and soon enough the Wolverines were in the one and one and were looking to coast to a victory.

Fast-forward to about 10 seconds left in the game DeShawn Sims is about to shoot free throws. I'm still sitting in the upper level and suddenly a voice in my head tells me, "Charlie, you will rush the court." i promptly left my seat tried to get down the stairs as quickly as possible and eventually sidestepping at least three people i got to the floor where a security gaurd said, "Don't run me over." Politely enough i didn't.

It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine. It's great to be a Michiga Wolverine. It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine. It was like a rock concert everybody jumping up and down and going absolutely bonkers.

Now that i'm coming down off that high i now have midterms to do. Thank you for allowing me to ramble about basketball on what is primarily a hockey blog.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A bittersweet victory

The story of this past weekend's series against Lake Superior State was Chad Kolarik. As a matter of fact he was the story of the hockey team this whole weekend, he played the girl part of Dirty Dancing in Mock Rock, which oddly enough suited him quite well. Then on friday he scored his second 4-goal game of the year, in front of my parents and myself.

Let's pause it right there and look at that particular game. The last of those goals was an empty netter and it put him one goal behind his Hobey front-runner teammate Kevin Porter, 24-25 respectively. When asked to talk about his own chances at winning hockey's equivilant of the Heisman Trophy he modestly stated that he did not want the award, that this was Kevin Porter's year, and he reinterated something he said at the beginning of the year when he told the media that one of his primary goals was to help Kevin Porter win the Hobey Baker. If that isn't a great teammate than i don't know who is.

In game two Michigan got the performance they desperately needed out of their secondary lines. Louie Caporusso scored a pair and Michigan was cruising through the third period when Michigan went down two men, and while Michigan was in the late stages of killing off the first penalty Chad Kolarik did the splits and couldn't get up. He could still move his arms, demonstrating that by trying to poke check the puck away to a teammate in a valiant effort to stay relevant on the ice while the refs looked for an excuse to blow the whistle to get him off the ice. It was remarkable that he kept playing reaching around trying to get the puck despite the fact that he couldn't stand up let alone skate. Hopefully he is not seriously injured.

Due to Kolarik's extremely eventful weekend, many other team and CCHA related events might get pushed aside in the process. Such as the fact that Michigan did a slight return to form in the third period on Friday outshooting the Lakers and outscoring them for the first time in two weeks. Coach Berenson has to be really pleased with the performance he got from his secondary line on Saturday's game. The fact that the #1 line didn't have to score and they still won shows the depth that this team has. Also the performance of Bryan Hogan was remarkable in the fact that he came in and shut down a team that had come in on a mini hot streak on saturday.

One more thing: if Michigan gets two points this upcoming weekend against that school up in East Lansing, Michigan will clinch their first regular season CCHA title in three years. If they do that against MSU someone should remind them to thank Ferris State the weekend after that for sweeping Miami this weekend. That's a huge thing for Michigan this year.



sorry bout the fan interviews

I had every intention of doing the fan interviews but apparently, some circumstances dealing with the fact that the seasonal press passes are for the hosts of WOLV overtime only. This was something i was not aware of, and i was not fully aware of how this could be a problem. However i still hope to do fan interviews if not at a game, maybe elsewhere. I still think that getting the fans on the show will be very important and i would still like to do them. Please continue to leave comments or email me at, leave a tagline about FAN INTERVIEWS in capital letters.

i've got another post to do for the recap of this weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Interviews at saturday's game vs. Lake St

On saturday's game i will be doing some interviews of fans at this saturday's game. I will be trying to find out why the fans love college hockey, and i'm expecting any and all answers to be found. As a matter of fact i'm not gonna try and have any expectations other than that i'm gonna get interviews. I'm not just gonna ask students either, i'm gonna try some of the alum and the older folx to tell me what draws "respectable" people to a place like yost. lol

I will be posting the video in WOLV and uncensored versions (if they have to be seperated ;).

I also may indeed make a whole series of this if i can get enough people interested. If you wanna share your story about how much you love college hockey, but are unable to come to the game on saturday, leave a comment on this blog post and i will interview you for WOLV TV.

till then...



Saturday, February 9, 2008

3 out of 4 aint bad, but is it good enough

Michigan came up with a monumental three points to take a lead in the CCHA standings, as well as undoubtably the National rankings. Michigan got some monumental performances from Max Pacioretty, Kevin Porter and Billy Sauer.

First i want to talk about Patch, i was originally gonna call this post "Goodbye Zatkoff, Hello Pacioretty" (**wink wink** Desmond Howard). Pacioretty scored four goals this weekend including a hat trick tonight, all of the goals came within at least ten feet of the goal with the exceptio of his last, a superfast wrister from the point on the power play. Another remarkable thing about the hat trick was that all the goals were scored in the first minute of each period in regulation. His goal on friday was just plain taking what was given to him a bouncing puck that came to him in front of the net, went five hole against Zatkoff and put it in!!!! A stick salute to Max Pacioretty.

A second salute is going to Kevin Porter. The goal he scored on Friday was just frickin amazing. If you didn't think that was enough to just give him the Hobey Baker on the spot you must be smoking something nastier than what got Kevin Quick kicked off the team (possibly). A stick salute for Kevin Porter.

Last but not least i gotta give it up for my main man Billy Sauer.

Yeah he gave up five goals in tonight's game, but he came through in the clutch getting the save to preserve the tie on the Redhawks last second shot from point blank range. Sauer came up huge on Friday too, killing off a two man disadvantage in the third period after giving up two goals in the period. Billy has earned his name back from Bilfy at WOLV and he's earned his manhood stripes too. A stick salute for the man in the mask in front of the net.

Although Red Berenson has to pleased that they didn't lose this weekend, he knows that there are things that this team has to seriously address. The top thing on that list now has shifted from playing D without Kevin Quick to getting their third period groove back. Ever since the Michigan State weekend the Wolverines have been outscored in four straight games in the final interval. This is not what the team was doing in the first half of the season, they would build up in intensity against their opponents in the first two periods, before turning on the heat in the third. The Icers will have a chance to get back to this against Lake Superior State.

On a side note i hope they do get back to the ways of third period dominance and back to the ways of consistantly winning. My parents are coming to the game on friday and i'm hoping their presence will be able to spark the team into a momentum that'll carry over to keep the Wolverines in first place, that way they'll be able to keep up the momentum and get the regular season CCHA title for the first time in three years.

All and all Michigan's really impressed me this weekend and i'm really looking forward to the last three weeks of the season with a first round bye already wrapped up.



Thursday, February 7, 2008

Things people should start giving up.

Seeing as the lenten season is upon us I thought it would be fitting to talk about somethings that i think that other people should be giving up. Maybe we can reach our goals together.

Afterthought: i would've made this post on Ash Wednesday, but things were a little crazy for me that day so, it didn't work out. Also these are just suggestions i think are fitting or kinda funny.

Michigan Hockey team: giving up tie games and overconfidence.

Red Berenson: giving up keeping secrets from the media.

Jeff Zatkoff: giving up more goals than Billy Sauer in the series this weekend.

Mark Mitera: giving up putting the puck into his own net.

The United States of America: giving up the two party system and electing the Anarchy party.

Asterisk advocates: giving up chace on the steroid issue, you might as well put asterisks next to Ty Cobb's batting average, even he admitted that the only reason why he hit .367 lifetime was cause he scared the crap out of the infielders w/ his spikes.

Michigan athletic department: giving up the John Bieline offense.



Wednesday, February 6, 2008


We've got ourselves a marquee matchup here this week. Hell, more than marquee this might just be one of the biggest regular season matchups in the history of College Hockey (I admit that's not saying much, but give credit where it's due) the Redhawks vs. the Wolverines

On paper this looks like Miami should win this one, albeit w/ a degree of difficulty, but still they look like they should win. They haven't lost in a month, they're 11-2 at there brand new home the Goggin Ice center, they haven't lost there since an embarrasing downfall to Alaska on December 8. They also have clearly the better goaltender in Jeff Zatkoff, quite possibly the best goalie in college hockey right now. The team has two 20 goal scorers already in Justin Mercier and Ryan Jones, to counter w/ Michigan's one in Kevin Porter, who hasn't played his best hockey against good goalies this season.

That's the way things look. However appearences can be decieving.

Sure Michigan's had to deal w/ the mysterious problems of Kevin Quick, and that seemed to come as a sudden shock to the team losing one of their primary sweeper defensemen. However this doesn't mean that Michigan is gonna be down and out in this series. Red Berenson has admitted to the press that he failed to keep the guys from getting focused on the Northern series cause they were looking ahead to Miami. Who can blame em, Michigan fans have been looking forward to Miami ever since it became clear Billy Sauer was gonna be good this season. Which brings me to the X-factor of the series.

Billy Sauer in the past two years had to be the most reviled goalie in Michigan hockey history, certainly the most since Red Berenson came here to coach. Most people including quite possibly Coach Red himself thought that it would be beneficial to rotate him w/ freshman Bryan Hogan. This of course was before Hogan caught mono and ended up sitting out the first 2 months.

Hogan actually started last saturday and looked kinda shakey at parts, especially on the penalty kill, it didn't help that the team committed a lotta penalties though. Sauer so far has a perfect 2-0 record in games coming off of being rested by Hogan, granted Hoagie won both of the first two, something he didn't do last saturday. For other reference he's also undefeated when playing games after a WOLV broadcast, seriously.

Oddly enough another thing that may help Michigan is that they're on the road. Michigan has yet to lose on the road this season, granted their game against Minnesota at the Xcel centre didn't count as a road game (can somebody please explain how that works?). The problem with that is that Michigan hasn't played a team like Miami on the road yet, and they're still adjusting to what'll happen w/o Quick, tune in for the next blog, when i predict what'll happen, reflect on Quick, and rant about Yost Ice Arena.



Sunday, February 3, 2008

A tied up weekend

Michigan came up with two out of a possible four points at their series against Northern Michigan, and it couldn't have felt more disappointing for the Wolverines. I was covering Saturday's game for WOLV tv (highlights will be available on monday from youtube, courtesy of Sullivti) and let me tell you, the defense seem to really struggle without Kevin Quick.

I think it's weird that a guy who's only scored two goals despite playing the whole season, could have such an impact on the team. But hockey is often times like soccer in the fact that the real statistics aren't always the ones invovlving scoring, with Quick around the Wolverines rarely ever gave up breakaway chances or odd man rush goals, they seem to have done this in the past two games of the series, which is unacceptable and is probably making Coach Berenson a little "Red" in the face.

The other thing that's kind of weird about this situation is how Kevin Quick got kicked off the team in the first place. I've talked to both members of the Michigan Daily and my collegues at WOLV and it seems that Berenson and co. are keeping as airtight a lid as you can find on a potential sports scandal as you can find on this campus. More on this developing story as the information becomes available. BTW there are a few rumors that i heard with absolutely no proof or sources so i figured that as a good journalist i shouldn't print them.

To cut to the point Michigan can ill afford to play like this against a team as good as Miami next weekend. That being said i am looking forward to seeing a very good game on FSN this weekend. If Michigan can look at what they did wrong in the past four games and figure out a way to fix it, they will be reaping some benefits of at least two points against the Redhawks, however two points against the Redhawks will probably be less satisfactory to the Wolverines than two points against the Wildcats from this weekend. What Michigan needs to do to get out of this slump is to not think that they can win the game, KNOW THAT THEY WILL WIN THE GAME.

As Yoda once said, "Do or do not, there is no try!"