Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekly Update April 28, 2008

My first weekend of relative freedom was good, but it could have been a lot better.

First, in Maize and Blue land, the softball team swept through Michigan State with two straight mercy rule games before playing a twin bill at home with Northwestern, who they were tied with for the lead in the Big Ten. Northwestern went out and shut down the Wolverine bats in the first game to win it 2-1. In the second game it looked like more of the same, the Wildcats had a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth when the Wolverines loaded the bases with one out for the female version of Cecil Fielder, Dorian Shaw. After fouling off nearly a dozen pitches, she finally struck out, as did the next batter to end the threat. However it was enough to wear down Northwestern's pitcher Lauren Delaney, who loaded the bases again this time with nobody out this time for Angela Findlay, who walked. That gave the bat to co-captain Samantha Findlay who has been Ms. Clutch all year, and delivered a clear cut walk off single to left to drive in the two runs needed to win the game in the seventh.

Michigan is still tied for the Big Ten lead with Northwestern, they have one more series left in their conference schedule against Penn State on the road. The Nittany Lions have struggled their way through the Big Ten this year after an impressive start in the non conference. Coach Hutchins will probably try and preach to them that they can't look past anybody, especially when the Big Ten championship is at stake. If Michigan can lock up the regular season championship then they should be able to blast their way into the NCAA tournament because they have been dominant at home this year.

The baseball team's hopes of winning the Big Ten title have been put in jeopardy as they split a four game set with last place Indiana. After assaulting the Hoosiers 14-6 on friday, the Wolverines were stumped in saturday's first game by Matt Beshore who struck out eight in a game that only lasted seven innings due to scheduling conflicts. Michigan lost the first game 2-1, then pounced on Indiana 11-4 with Nate "the 'recker'" Recknagle going 4-4 with his 17th homer of the season. Unfortunately they expended everything in that game and the score of saturday's nitecap was reversed in favor of the hosting Hoosiers. With Purdue's sweep of Minnesota, including three come from behind victories, the Wolverines now stand atop the Big Ten by a mere game, and they're playing Ohio State.

Fortunately that school in Columbus struggled with Northwestern having to settle for a split as well. Also Rich Maloney refused to leave any quotes for mgoblue, making one think that he was NOT PLEASED with the performance on sunday. If Maloney pulled a Jim Leyland on his team he should hope they react the way the Tigers do.

The Tigers could have done so much better at this point, but hope is on the way in the form of Curtis Granderson. He returned this past week hitting pretty much anything that came in front of the plate this past week, although they dropped two out of three to the Angels at home this past weekend, as a longtime Tigers fan who has had his heart broken by them so many times, it's good to have Grandy back on the field.

The Red Wings didn't just beat the Avalanche in the first two games of their playoff series, they showed them who was the boss. After giving up two really bad second period goals in game one to cut their lead to 4-3 Chris Osgood played magnificently in net. I couldn't believe what i was hearing on the radio at the time, sprawling out to make sure the Avs shooters would not get it in. I hope Billy Sauer takes some pointers from the wizard of Os in the offseason, because right now it looks like he's taking Vezina Trophy winners to school.

Last but certainly not least, i thought for certain that the Pistons were going to return to the Palace trailing the Sixers three games to one. But the self preservation kicked in early as they showed the world how they win by owning the court to send it back to Detroit on their terms. Hopefully they can complete it and end all this upset talk.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


With all the money Jake Long just made by signing with the Miami Dolphins he might want to pay a visit to his old line mate and ask his former line mate and recent Ohio State transferee Justin Boren a simple question.

What does Rich Rodriguez look like?

It would even be better if he gave him the talk while Boren was eating a Whimpy Burger.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Weekly Update April 22, 2008

Now that i'm done with my final exams i figure i'll post on at least a weekly basis give or take, depending on how my job situation shapes out.

Michigan named defenseman Mark Mitera team captain for the hockey team. Bryan and Packer at mgoblog and the blog that yost built both seem to think this is a good idea, i on the other hand do not. I think that Mitera is not a captain quality player because he does not lead by example, the biggest issue for him is puck handling, he has never seemed comfortable handling the puck in his own zone and leading his team out to the attack from the defensive position, something that guys like Chris Summers and Scooter Vaughn do regularly. He also doesn't get down and block shots like the rest of the team, reminiscent of a problem Jack Johnson had while still playing for Michigan. But of course the biggest problem i have with Mark Mitera is own goals, if he played for the Colombian national soccer team he would have been dead before the end of the season. Two own goals in consecutive weeks, one of them costing the team their big rivalry game against Michigan State. It's just unacceptable in my opinion.

Speaking of State....

The Wolverine baseball team crushed the Spartans at Fisher Stadium this past sunday 27-6 to complete a four game sweep. More importantly, there were at least 2,600 fans at both of the games in Ann Arbor. This should really help Rich Maloney's case for getting Ann Arbor to host an NCAA regional should Michigan make the tournament, i interviewed Maloney before the season started for the Daily and he told me that one of the reasons why they renovated the Fish was so that they could host a regional. The fact that they came within a game of making it to Omaha last year also buoyed hopes as well.

"If we had the Super Regional at Michigan last year it would have been a dream come true," Maloney said. "Our goal has always been making it to Omaha, but this past year, because we came so close, we actually started to believe it."

"We're trying to play as competitive a schedule as our travel limitations will allow us to and that will speak volumes to the NCAA selection committee."

One of the things that he also talked about that day was that only three teams who have made it to the CWS after not hosting an NCAA regional or super regional. Maloney's guys have been making strides lately, drawing 1,000+ for both games of a series vs. Eastern Michigan right after the end of classes. One of the games was a night game as was the game this past friday at the Fish. Clearly night games are going to attract more fans, but will it get them into the clear? The jury is still out.

One thing to remember here is that Fisher Stadium is designed to hold 4,000 people and this past weekend less than 70 percent of the stadium was filled, in academic terms the athletic department is getting a D in their attempts to fill the stands at baseball games. Still if Michigan wins the Big Ten regular season title, they will play the Big Ten tournament at the Fish and that would undoubtedly draw a lot of fans, if not sell the place out. If the Fish sells out and Michigan wins the Big Ten tournament there, then you can punch the ticket for Ann Arbor hosting an NCAA baseball tournament regional.

Hosting these things is key as Mark Rosen, the volleyball coach who hosted a regional at Crisler this past season, will tell you:

"We don't have to travel, and we get more practice time this week. It'll be fun to have our home crowd, and it'll be fun for the players to have their family and friends here to support them."

And when you don't have to travel the jet lag factor that often contributes in losing goes way down.



p.s. i tried that at the baseball game when State swapped pitchers, didn't seem to catch on all that well.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


If Ekpe Udoh decides to transfer away from the University of Michigan, the basketball team will suffer a setback that could possibly be worse than what happened during the Amaker years. They will be without a defense, which would put the Wolverines in the bottom of the Big Ten they will probably miss out on a golden opportunity to capitalize on playing with a potential great NBA style player in Manny Harris.

Ekpe Udoh is the big ten's leading shot blocker and the only player who can come close to averaging ten rebounds a game. In the poor shooting big ten one of the most important things for a team to do is to have good defensive rebounding. So far nobody else on this team has the inside presence that Ekpe has.

The common perception is that Bieline's offense and three point shot heavy style of basketball there is not much room for Ekpe. This is one of the most false perceptions about the basketball team ever. It is essential that if Bieline ever expects for his style to work at Michigan they will need rebounders and shot blockers, and plenty of them to work within the big ten's style to execute Bieline's.

Finally i would like to say this, if Bieline doesn't get Ekpe to return, he will have made a monumental failure. Not only is he losing a player who can compliment his style, he's losing a class guy who if he transfers he does so for less iffy reasons than virtually every player you see doing it these days.

Ekpe knows he doesn't have the greatest chance at making the NBA, but he does know that he wants to be seen by his family in Oklahoma. As much as it would pain me to see him leave the university, i would understand his reasons. I took a class with Ekpe and he is a respectful, classy, good guy, he doesn't do stupid stuff off the court, and he knows how to correct himself when he does it on it.

My faith in Bieline is shaky to begin with, if Ekpe goes i don't think it will remain there. Please stay Ekpe, for the fans sake, for your team's sake, for your school's sake, and above all for your family's sake, they will be proud of you even if you stay in Michigan.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

my man papers

I'm finally moving out of the dorms.


In spite of that i feel like i'm going to miss things about the dorms, among them:

Food, yes it wasn't that good, but it was available and you don't have to pay for it.

Some of the people are really cool and have very interesting viewpoints and positions within the student body, marching band members, athletes, media, b-school folks, RA's, SOME ROTC folks.

Noise, yes it's a good thing, too much quiet drives me nuts.

Laundry in the building.

Things i'm not going to miss:

People going Jack Murray on the vending machines.

Forced hall activities.


Restricted eating hours.

RHA spam

RHA spam

More RHA spam, I just really hate RHA spam.

spring and summer policy

I'm not going to stop posting in the summer, although i will be posting less frequently. I will probably have a job, and i probably won't have as much time to post either. From now until right before football season i will have probably post about whatever i feel like writing about. Most of it will be sports related, but as you will see today, not all of it.

Thank you, and i hope you continue to read this blog.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Bitter End

I had two papers due this week and i thought i would cover two games, turns out i would have too many teardrops for one heart to be crying.

Losing that game was the worst feeling i could have at a time like this man. Everything was going cool, and then they give up three goals in the first period. I guess we've learned our lesson, never play Billy in an NCAA tournament game against a team with the initials ND. Sure we made it interesting and forced overtime, but in getting there our team expended so much energy we could not get past there backcheck whenever we got into the Notre Dame zone.

It was a good season, we just came up short. Kevin Porter won the Hobey Baker Award, but it's no consolation for me. I hate losing, and i especially hate losing to Notre Dame. Second to Ohio State, Notre Dame is the team i hate losing to the most. In my opinion they're a bigger rival than MSU because normally i root for MSU when they're not playing Michigan but i can't ever think of a time when i've rooted for the Fighting Irish. Well as an act of vengeance for the hockey team the football team should go into South Bend this upcoming season and blow the Irish out and make them cry 96 tears.

P.S. This is the second time Michigan has left the NCAA tournament at the hands of a Jeff Jackson led team. The Wolverines lost to Lake Superior St. in the second round of the 1994 tournament and the Lakers went onto win the title that year as a fourth seed, coincidence???

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Daily Broomball: PLAYOFFS PART 2 a.k.a THE END

We lost.

We lost 8-1.

I picked out the equipment bag before the game. Turned out all the helmets were the wrong size. I don't care what anybody says, that had a factor in the game. True, we were very overconfident going into this game, that was a factor too. But the fact that all of our helmets were either too big or too small really really urked me.

That word urked has been coming up a lot lately in my life. More on that later.

Fact is the season's over and my competitive rage will have to find another outlet for a while now. The Tigers has been loosing without Grandy, Michigan football's not playing, i'm not sure i can count on the Pistons or Red Wings in the playoffs, and i desperately need to find a job soon.

Sorry i haven't posted in a coupl of days, it's a hectic life being a junior at the University of Michigan.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Daily Broomball: PLAYOFFS PART 1

With Jose Bosch being mysteriously absent from the beginning of the game i had to start in goal. Initially i made two saves, and we jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Lindsey Ungar scored in the first minute of the game. Unfortunately in the first five minutes we played mostly in offensive mode, ignoring the fact that there was a girl for the opposing team up front trying to knock anything that came out in front into the net. Their other girl made a shoot in on net, because i was standing up i initially waited for the one in front of the net to make a move first, it wasn't until the ball was at my feet right under the net that it was in danger of going in and if i didn't do something soon it would. I dropped to the ice surface as fast as i could and tried to grab the ball, my inability to get a firm grip on the ball led to it going in the net.

I would spend my next shift on defense.

Ian took over in goal, did a decent job, but we really had to help him. The simple fact was he was not prepared to be in goal, and was sitting on his knees for virtually the rest of the game. Fortunately for us our opponents couldn't elevate their shots to save their lives. Also it didn't hurt that me and Mckenzie Rosman were in the back preventing all scoring chances from becoming fruitful and making sure Ian didn't have to make the save.

We won the game 7-4 with goals from Lindsey, Courtney, Andy Reid, and two from Jason Kohler. The last of which was an empty netter at the last second which i got an assist on, to register my first points of the season. I should have had two that night however. I took a shoot in towards the end of the first half, i somehow got the ball through a crowd of people to Kohler, who was right in front of the net to take a really solid slap shot on it that happened to be gloved by their goalie.

Oh well, we won, that's all that matters.

Michigan is in the Frozen Four + preview.

Finally a Charles in Charge blog post about making the frozen four. What took me so long? Good question, the details of the answer are still being worked out, but if you email me or send me a message somehow you may receive an answer. But enough of that, let's hear it for the Maize and Blue for making it this far after the media picked them to end up on the bubble to make the tournament in the first place.

Frozen Four preview:


How they got there:

After winning the regular season CCHA title and the conference tournament, the wolverines were seen as the team to beat coming in. They are considered the top team in the tournament as a whole, and faced competition that some would say was considerably less than what the other teams faced in the tournament. Nevertheless they won their games against Niagara and Clarkson, gave up one goal in them combined and was led offensively by Kevin Porter's five goals and one assist. The two catalysts for Michigan all year have been Porter, their captain and leading scorer, as well as Billy Sauer their goaltender who has made a remarkable comeback from last year's lackluster performance.

That being said it must be noted that in spite of having these two remarkable players, Michigan is arguably the most complete team in the NCAA this year, and that is remarkable considering they have over ten freshmen on the team this year. They've been able to get offensive production from just about everybody, they're fast, physical and when the going gets tough they get going.

Their Matchup:

Michigan will be playing Notre Dame in the semifinals, a team they swept in mid-January in a regular season CCHA series, in which Notre Dame didn't play at home. The hockey team has underwent numerous changes as well as various ups and downs since then, but at the form they are at right now, they are looking fairly similar to when they played them earlier in the year (albeit without Kevin Quick).

What they need to look out for:

Notre Dame just pulled off two huge upsets in the tournament without their leading scorer Erik Condra who went down with a knee injury before in the CCHA playoffs and will likely miss this game. When they played New Hampshire and Michigan State, the Irish just came out swinging desperately and they started hitting home runs, metaphorically speaking. The biggest problem for Michigan will be to find the right pitch to strike them out.

Notre Dame

How they got here: After finishing fourth in both the CCHA regular season and tournament, the Irish were in the same boat as the Wisconsin Badgers as well as several other teams. They were at the mercy of the tournament selection committee to give them an at large bid. As a four seed they took on the Hockey East regular season champs New Hampshire in Colorado Springs. The Notre Dame team that played in that game was unlike anything anybody could have expected, they played physical, offensively aggressive and it paid off, their fore check was tough and their back check (a traditional strength) didn't give the Wildcats any chances in the third period.

This combined with the strong play of Jordan Pierce in the Michigan State game really catapulted the Fighting Irish into their first Frozen Four appearance, and doing so on the highest note possible. Considering they were really struggling up to this point this is remarkable.

Their matchup:

While Michigan may be the most balanced team, Notre Dame is one of the most defensive minded teams in the CCHA and the NCAA as a whole. Normally their style is not as physical, they mostly depend on good shot blocking and goaltending than necessarily finishing their hits on the back check, but this has changed. Their offense has really been regenerated by Mark Van Guilder and Christian Hanson in the last two games. They filled the gap that Condra left open, and are filling it quite well. It will be interesting to see how Michigan matches up with these two if Condra does not return from the injury.

What they need to look out for:

Michigan's offense is so explosive it's scary, just ask Niagara, who held them scoreless in the first period only to see them break out for five goals in the next two. Needless to say it, Notre Dame will have to really step up their defensive efforts if they are going to beat Michigan.

North Dakota

How they got here: After winning the WCHA regular season title they finished third in the conference tournament and garnered a No. 1 seed in the tournament's Midwest regional. After a relatively easy game against Princeton, similar to Michigan's vs. Niagara, the Fighting Sioux had to beat Wisconsin in Madison in front of a hostile 10,000+ crowd. Not only did they do it, they came from behind a two goal deficit in the third period, and they won in overtime on a deflection. Considering that the Badgers weren't even supposed to be in the tournament, they really played their tails off.

North Dakota is going into their fourth straight Frozen Four, and they have never won in the NCAA tournament in that time frame. Along with Michigan they bring to the table one of the most balanced teams in the country, with scoring machines like T.J. Oshie, and last year's Hobey winner Ryan Duncan, who passed up a lucrative chance in the NHL to play his senior season. The Sioux also have JP Lamoureux who could be the only goalie that really gives Kevin Porter a run for the Hobey Baker award this year. Not only that, they're not too shabby defensively either.

Their matchup:

North Dakota will play Boston College in the semi-finals. They played once earlier this year at the beginning of the season to nil-nil draw in Boston that only lasted two periods because the ice surface was beginning to melt as a result of electrical problems in the arena. These two teams are so similar to each other, the only way to tell the difference between them is by their jerseys. They play the same style, they have high powered offenses with good goalies and have the ability to come back when down in a game. You are never sure when playing either of these two teams, which makes a matchup like this extremely hard to predict.

What they need to look out for:

Quick bursts of scoring, bad penalties, special teams in general, and road rage on ice.

Boston College

How they got here:

After a tight regular season in which the Eagles finished fourth in Hockey East in spite of having the best non-conference record in the conference, they really came out and handed it to the Hockey East conference sweeping right on through the Hockey East tournament to add to their hardware that they've won this year (i.e. the Beanpot). They took on the high flying ways of Minnesota in the first round and managed to repel them long enough to get a 5-2 victory. With about three minutes left in the second period against Miami in the second round the Eagles scored three goals in 1:58 against Jeff Zatkoff. They only got three shots off in overtime compared to Miami's seven, but they still won.

Nathan Gerbe was the only player in college hockey this year to overtake Kevin Porter's top spot in Inside College Hockey's Hobey Tracker. Freshman John Muse has played virtually the whole season in goal this year and has been really tough as of late, especially in the clutch.

Their matchup:

As i stated earlier BC and North Dakota are really similar. The only real difference in my opinion is the conference each of them plays in. NoDak plays in the competitive, extremely physical WCHA, where no team is ever counted out until the last week of the season. The Eagles on the other hand play in Hockey East which although just as competitive as the WCHA has more teams that play a more subtle soviet style of play, that emphasizes speed over physical play. Of course BC is one of the few exceptions to that idea and they play extremely hard.

What they need to look out for:

The same things i wrote for North Dakota, these teams are so similar they have the same weaknesses.