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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The NHL Draft came and went over the weekend. Three Michigan players went in the first round: Trevor Lewis at #17 to the Kings, Mark Mitera at #19 to the Ducks, and Chris Summers at #29 to Phoenix. Goalie Billy Sauer went in the seventh round to the Avs.

Oft-burned Michigan hockey fans are leery of that Lewis-to-the-Kings thing, as over the past few years LA has cruelly ripped both Mike Cammalleri and Jeff Tambellini away from Michigan in the final runup to the season. Mitigating that somewhat: Cammalleri and Tambellini were both seniors-to-be and not, say, freshmen. LA has also let Brian Boyle develop away at BC. Chances are Lewis will stick around for three years, and I'll take that from an NHL first-rounder.

The other development is Billy Sauer's precipitous plunge down the board. Before the season his name was being tossed around as a second or third round pick, but apparently scouts do watch games. The door is open for Steve Jakiel.

A hat-tip so massive that it's more properly a sombrero-tip must go to Yost Built for the ultimate response to any Penn State argument (SFW but w/ sound). The next time some half-deranged guy in blue and white approaches you to scream about Big Ten conspiracies or Lloyd Carr's two seconds, just show 'em that and they will admit that they deserve to win no more football games ever.

Oregon uniforms: still dumb. Everyone's put in their two cents on the sheet-metal and acid-inspired Duck unis, but only Uni Watch has actually talked to the people responsible for them. Most revelatory passage:

Nike’s Oregon program is all geared toward catering to the athlete — not just in terms of the uniform’s performance-based aspects (which makes sense), but also in terms of aesthetics (which doesn’t, at least to me). They hold focus groups with the players, have the players submit design sketches, and so on. So if you think these unis look like they were designed by a bunch of 20-year-olds, well, to a certain extent they were. “They want to feel intimidating, like gladiators coming into the arena,” Van Horne told me. And about the diamondplate pattern, Hatfield said, “It’s basically a graphic representation of toughness. The players want to look tough – it’s a tough sport, there’s a lot of intimidation.” Frankly, I think this is all pretty stupid, but hey, 20-year-olds are stupid.
Remember when you played around with NCAA's create-a-school mode and made the Peoria Pink Pom-Pom Pirates? Yeah, this is like that. Except horrifyingly real. And this quote is the only thing I've ever read that has made me seriously question Michigan's uniforms:
The Nike people are well aware that the approach they’ve taken with Oregon and with some other schools wouldn’t fly with some the country’s more conservative programs. “The University of Oregon is willing to partner with us on this approach, and I don’t think you’d find that in too many Division I programs,” Hatfield told me. “If we walked into Joe Paterno’s office and said, ‘How about putting “Penn State” on the left leg of the pants?,’ we’d probably get tarred and feathered. We think it’s great that there are these storied programs around the country that have tradition, and you just don’t mess with them. I love Michigan’s uniforms; I love the simplicity of Penn State.”
Ack! Change 'em now! (Lukas says he pointed out to Nike that they did indeed "mess" with Michigan's uniforms by adding useless frippery in the form of that damn piping.)

Anyway, the Best Oregon Uni Zinger Award, 2006 edition, goes to the Georgia Sports Blog:
This is the answer to the not-so-hypothetical question 'how hard do you have to try to be the state's primary punchline when your in-state rival is the Beavers?'

Um... guys... You go one of two ways on Ohio State fans: they should probably remember that whole "Cooper" thing or they have the attention span and memory of confused ferrets. Your answer is probably the latter, since
  1. Fans of this particular team with two-count-em-two returning defensive starters are getting their hubris in while they can by batting around the idea of a "two-game season," and
  2. The two games the Buckeyes figure to actually play next year are against Texas... and against Iowa. When someone pops his head up to speak as the voice of reason it's to chide us for not believing in Penn State.
I hate you guys. I hate you guys so much.

Etc.: Yeah, that Brady-Quinn-ineligible thing? Don't think so. Hey Jenny Slater is onboard the Univision train.