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Monday, January 15, 2007

I present the weekend in Michigan sports:

  • The hockey team does its usual Saturday mail-in, losing 2-1 to a tenth-place Northern team and dropping further behind Notre Dame and Miami. Michigan is in severe danger of missing the tournament for the first time in sixteen years.
  • The basketball team is obliterated by Purdue. At 2-1, the dread spectre of yet another NIT appearance looms.
  • Safety Jerimy Finch, the consensus best recruit in Michigan's class not named "Mallett," decommits. To go to INDIANA. Delightfully-named tiny scatback Marquis Maze is contacted by Michigan recruiting people and mentions that Michigan coaches haven't contacted him in months and he's going somewhere else.
So... yeah. Also the Pistons lost to Atlanta and the Oilers have returned from the Year of Pronger to their usual "maybe we'll scrape into the playoffs, but maybe not" selves. I'm cranky.

What's Wrong With... Hockey.

Many things.
  • The second powerplay unit. I can think of no better summary of Michigan's shocking State-like lack of depth than what purports to be our second power play unit: Brandon Naurato, Brian Lebler, Travis Turnbull, Matt Hunwick, and Mark Mitera. No offense to any of those players (except perhaps Hunwick, who is a senior but still causes me to say "what the hell were you thinking?" at least once per night), but that's a checking line.
  • There are two and a half defensemen I'm actually confident in. Kampfer keeps getting yanked for making horrible turnovers and Chris Summers has been little better. The NHL must really love the latter's skating (gorgeous, to be fair), because he's consistently beaten along the boards for pucks, often finds himself wildly out of position, and just gives me the heebie-jeebies in general. Throw in Hunwick's usual maddening play, and bleah.
  • Goaltending. I've said my piece on this before. Sauer can't be blamed for what happened Saturday. The first goal may have been a little soft -- short side and under the glove -- but that was on a breakaway. Other than that, he was excellent. Unfortunately, that stands out as the exception.
So that appears to be defense, offense, and goaltending. The problems are comprehensive. Three guys who you can leave out of any hockey-team related bitchign you may do: Hensick, Johnson, and Rolfhs. Each has been playing near the height of his ability.

What's Wrong With... Basketball.

The usual.

What's Wrong With... Recruiting.

God, I don't know. What a weird year. There's an unprecedented amount of talent in state that we manage to get very little of. Colasanti is enamored of Penn State from the beginning for some reason. Sawtelle is a Tennessee legacy. Barksdale is a needy primadonna who gets angry at the coaches for not remembering the exact sequencing of their secret handshake. Dionte Allen flees to Florida State once they tell him he can be their offensive coordinator. Taurian Washington is the second OLSM kid in two years to go to OSU. Now we've lost a recruit to... and I can't stress this enough...


Only time will tell whether Finch is brilliantly prescient or, you know, not. I'm betting on "not," myself. What a bizarre decision: premiere program coming off 11-2 season that plays in largest stadium in the country versus basketball school that occasionally scratches out a Motor City Bowl bid and plays in front of something like 20,000. This is the worst decommitment ever.

Now you'll excuse me. I have to find a flat surface to bang my head against.