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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Greg Oden? Is that you? Tight end recruit Kevin Koger's Toledo Whitmer team made a run in the Ohio State playoffs but lost a few days ago. Condolences to Koger and all that but the real reason I mention it:

That is one superior old man beard going on right there. I so want him to keep it forever. Bigger version at the Blade's website.

Are these guys starfish or something? Mike Spath reports that Scooter Vaughn is a go this weekend and Matt Rust is going to try to skate today and might be available. Max Pacioretty is out after receiving a stupid game DQ for fighting on Saturday.

However, Operation No Stinking Badgers suffered a blow: Notre Dame's Eric Condra is out for the year. Condra is ND's top scorer by a wide margin with 38 points. Notre Dame has to get a split at the Joe to get in the tourney and keep Wisconsin out. Yost Built has been fiddling with YATC and says thusly:

Assuming Michigan and Miami win their semifinal games, the CCHA Consolation Game could be pretty huge for Michigan. If Notre Dame wins the third place game, Wisconsin is out and our game with Miami doesn't seem to matter in terms of the seeding. If Northern Michigan wins, we could fall to the #3 overall seed by losing to Miami and Wisconsin very possibly makes it in (depending on the ECAC and Hockey East results).

Youth movement. Michigan is #1; it is also the youngest team in the CCHA. A helpful UNO fan compiled a list:
Average Age
Michigan 20.53
Michigan State 21.33
Notre Dame 21.55
Ohio State 21.58
Miami 21.75
Northern Michigan 21.82
Lake Superior State 21.91
Ferris State 21.97
Western Michigan 22.05
Bowling Green 22.13
Alaska - Fairbanks 22.17
UNO 22.51
Second- and third-tier college hockey programs tend to recruit 20 and 21-year-old freshmen, something Michigan rarely does (Langlais was the only player more than a year out of high school in this large freshman class), but that's still remarkable: Michigan is almost a full year younger than any team in the conference. Even though the two seniors they'll lose are both amongst the best players in the country, Michigan could be even better next year. Hopefully Pacioretty -- on fire the past couple months -- and Mitera return.

Pryor. ... is deciding within the week and is...
‘‘...down to two schools,’’ Pryor said. ‘‘I can’t tell you which two.’’
But, yeah, one is probably not Penn State:
Pryor didn’t want to get into too many specifics when talking about Penn State. He mentioned that he looks at the environment as ‘‘country’’ and that he felt comfortable with his knowledge of the program through his numerous unofficial visits over the years.
I haven't seen anyone say anything other than Pryor to OSU; usually these words are accompanied by other words claiming that anyone else would "shock," "cause widespread devastation," or "bring about seven plagues, the likes of which have been heretofore unseen by man."

So, yeah, don't get your hopes up.

Eeee, oooo, eeee. Excellent interview in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with Steve Slaton, Darius Reynaud, and other players departing from West Virginia. Eeee Barwis:
FINDER: Who all went to Michigan to work with former West Virginia strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis?

RIVERS: Antonio [Lewis] and I went up there for about a month. Last week, Owen [Schmitt] and Ryan Mundy got there. They got a nice setup. Spent a lot of money.

SLATON: I'm going up there. I don't know when. See what my schedule is, who else calls.

Not to pile on Gittleson too hard, but this is night and day from Michigan's experience. At Michigan, as soon as you sign with an agent and get some money you head for one of those specialized NFL prep workout camps in Florida or whatever. These guys are following Barwis wherever he goes. Eeee.

This quote got a lot of play:
FINDER: Did the coaches up at Michigan talk to you guys about what was happening back at West Virginia, with all the fan reaction?

RIVERS: They really don't care. They're up there. [After selling their Morgantown houses and moving their families], they're not trying to get their [butts] shot at here in West Virginia.

His players don't harbor any animosity:

FINDER: Were you surprised by the fans' reaction over Coach [Rich] Rodriguez leaving and the buyout, lawsuit and everything?

REYNAUD: It did surprise me a little bit, but it's a business, man.

SLATON: You figured it would happen. But I think they should be happy for him. He's from West Virginia and he can make his mark at Michigan better and maybe one day be in the coaching Hall of Fame. I'm happy for him 'cause he gave me a chance to play running back when a lot of teams wouldn't have given me the chance.

REYNAUD: Did I have any anger about Coach Rod [leaving]? I never did. [The fans] took it the worst. After that victory in the bowl game, who cares?

And, of course, you stay classy, Morgantown:

FINDER: If you can change anything over the past three and a half months, what would it be? The outcome of the Pitt game? Coach Rod leaving?.Something else? . . .

REYNAUD: If Coach Rod had left for Michigan before that game, it still would be that game [they'd want to change].

RIVERS: I was right behind him coming into the locker room after that game. It was horrible ..., especially when he turned this thing around. '[Screw] you, Rodriguez.' 'Thanks a lot, Rod.'

REYNAUD: (chuckling) Yeah, I heard that: 'Thanks a lot, Rod.' ":

SLATON: Look what he brought to the program, too.

Who would want to leave that?

What Touchdown Jesus? Dana Jacobsen interviews Rich Rodriguez. I know you're waiting for the f-bombs, but sorry:

(Via MVictors.)

Etc.: More Eeee, Barwis from ESPN, Zack Novak article from the Tribune, Darryl Stonum, rumored to be the recipient of the #1 jersey, is wearing #22 at spring practice, the Hoover Street rag has hilarious, sad numbers comparing hockey and basketball.