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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Highlights. They're cut kind of crappily -- can't see the play develop -- but for anyone who missed the Minnesota game:

I love "hey... if you want to watch this game, it's on after this show. So stop watching RIGHT NOW."

Agreed. The band had a pretty bleah year in the first year post-Nix, culminating in a Cirque Du Soleil show against Ohio State that seemed straight out of that episode of Coach in which Hayden T. Nelson battles the dastardly band director who cares about nothing save jazz and tidy formations. The Hoover Street Rag is the bando blog of record and suggests some of the bleah is actually intentional:

From what I've heard from shows this year, as well as comments left on this blog, is that the sound is being explicitly suppressed in the interest of such contrasts and "quiet sections."

A couple years ago my tickets were around the 20 on the non-pressbox side. At that point, the band was on the same side of the field I was, and I couldn't hear them at all, which substantially detracted from the gameday experience. It was awful. Is there anyone in the stadium who objects to actually being able to hear the band? The HSR says turn it up...
There is a simple fix for all of these problems: Play louder. We know it is possible; it's not like all the volume graduated last year. Playing louder would allow more of the students to hear the band, let them stay together on the Victors, and allow everyone to enjoy more of the halftime performances. The MMB did sound more balanced and rounder this year but it was at a significant and noticeable expense of volume. Row 80 does not care about legatos and mezzo pianos. Row 80 only cares about why their faces aren't being peeled off by the first note of M Fanfare.
...and I agree.

Strong is good. Behind the Net has an interesting article on the USHL, the only Tier 1 junior league endorsed by USA hockey and the premiere college feeder league out there. Fully 10% of the NHL used to play in the USHL, and the league is now basically on par with Canadian Junior leagues, which means that kids interested in both college and the NHL now have a viable pre-college option that won't stunt their development.

While on hockey recruiting, three kids signed letters of intent just before Thanksgiving. Two, Robbie Czarnik and David Wohlberg, are forwards set to replace the departing Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik. Czarnik is a high-end prospect who might go in the first couple rounds; Kolarik is more of a mid-round prospect.

The third is where it gets interesting:
Pateryn may not necessarily be playing for the Wolverines next year. Berenson and associate head coach Mel Pearson both said he might need another year in the USHL and may potentially be coming to Michigan for the 2009-10 season.
Michigan currently has seven defenders on the roster and none graduate next year; Michigan also has a commitment from St. Mike's defender Brandon Burlon. (St. Mike's is the Toronto prep school that sent Michigan Andrew Cogliano and Louie Caporusso.) Burlon is getting high praise from the scouting community. Kyle Woodlief: was big Joe Colborne, a strapping pivot from Camrose in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and Brandon Burlon, a strong, mobile blue-liner from the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League, who grabbed our attention. ...

As for Burlon, he did more to boost his stock than anyone in British Columbia last week, and we suspect he'll join a pair of fellow St. Michael's Buzzers alumni, Andrew Cogliano in 2005 and Brendan Smith in '07, as first round NHL picks when teams convene in Ottawa next June.

Burlon is ultra-smooth and the prototypical two-way defender in the post-lockout NHL landscape. He defends beautifully in his own end, seemingly never making a mistake in either his puck movement decisions, coverage down low or play diagnosis. He's big enough and competitive enough to duel against the big boys in front of the net and mobile and savvy enough to sniff out and breakup plays and lead quick-strike transition attacks, turning defense to offense in a heartbeat.

That does not seem like the kind of guy you leave in junior or fail to sign when you get the opportunity to. Burlon's listed as an '08 by Heisenberg while Pateryn is an '09. So what's the deal with Pateryn signing but not Burlon?

Burlon appears to be keeping his options open if a spot does not materialize on the Michigan blueline. By not signing a letter of intent, Burlon can go to another school should he need to. If Michigan loses a defender, he'll come in. Next Q: will Michigan lose a defender?

Probably. No Michigan first round draft pick save Eric Nystrom has stayed for four years. The new CBA gives teams a powerful incentive to sign college prospects by the summer after their junior year. Mark Mitera was the 17th pick his draft year and has really come into his own as Michigan's #1 defender. He's probably gone, and Burlon will show up in '08. Pateryn is likely to stay in the USHL another year and join the '09 class unless Michigan loses a second defender. The chances of that are low despite Chris Summers' status as a first round pick himself. He's a smart kid...
"It was tough at first," he said, "but my parents and a lot of my teachers were always real supportive. Everyone helped out. We had mandatory study time on our road trips. My parents always said my grades had to come first, and to have their support meant everything."

In the end, the time away had little, if any impact on his grades and Summers finished on the Milan honor roll all four years.
...and spent last year bouncing from defense to forward and back. The Coyotes will likely let him develop another year.

Update: Chris Dilks of WCH clarifies the Burlon situation:
Actually, Burlon wasn't able to sign a letter of intent because in order to do so, the school has to be able to show where his scholarship money is coming from, and a school can't say, "well this guy is going to leave early for the pros, so our recruit will take his scholarship money". The money either has to already be available, or be in use by a player that won't have eligibility next year. Pateryn signed because he's an in-state kid that is going to be using very little scholarship money. Burlon is closer to a full scholarship so he'll have to wait for Mitera to leave before he can sign

In any case, I wouldn't worry about him not coming to Michigan.
I did not know that.

Etc.: The MZone bags on Sharp, Woodson says "hey! modernize!"