So I had this column ready to go on Friday but wanted to wait until the weekend played out. When I saw the score of Friday night's game, my jaw dropped. But should we have been surprised? This team is fighting it on every level.
Great article Michael and thanks for laying it out, especially for someone like me, who hardly gets to see the team play. What is the word on Merrill? Is he expected back? If it's not fairly soon it might be too late to make a difference.
12/3 1:28 PM | IP: Logged
maybe mid- to late January.
12/3 4:22 PM | IP: Logged
Would have to agree with all of that, including the "need two wins in a row" statement, but does anyone really think they are going to do that? Getting the shoot out win this weekend was better than getting swept, but they did have a lead going into the third and once again lost it. If they could sweep WMU it would be a pretty good way to finish up the first half, give them something really positive to build off of, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see WMU sweep them instead.
I'm hoping that with the extra week of practice they will be able to work some of these kinks out, especially the defensive problems, but who knows, they have had two months to get things right and they don't seem any closer to having done that today than they were the first game of the season.
I hear Merrill is finally out of the brace, do they have any idea on when he might be able to at least start skating or will we be lucky to seem him suit up the last game of the season?
12/3 1:16 PM | IP: Logged
You have all the bases covered so far Mike.
No strength in any one area, teams that are slumping on offense can compete in low scoring games, if they play solid defense and have neutral special teams. We all know what the defense and goaltending is like, already allowing 2x as many goals as teams like Miami, Notre Dame and Ohio State and going six games without a PPG for and allowing two SHG and several PPG against.
See the second Ferris goal from Saturday night where Bonis skates around Szuma along the boards and behind the net, Szuma barely checks him, and Bonis scores a wrap around from a bad angle while Racine was tap dancing in the crease. Seems to me that play doesn't happen with a nice check to ride the player out of the play and an alert goalie. But the lack of depth is showing.
I thought 2013-14 was when the team would flirt with not making the NCAA's primarily due to a "rough Michigan summer", but few of those prospects are playing at a high level.
The team has struggled to replace the leadership, size and scoring provided by Wohlberg, Glendening, Brown, Pateryn and Hunwick. This senior class has been a part of teams that have experienced significant struggles in 3 or 4 seasons, and it seems to be a pattern developing attributed to an inconsistent offense.
Prior teams have had the offensive tools to hide some of their shortcomings. Not the case this year. Players need to step up and not be passengers anymore.
PDG and Guptill had to step up with AJ to be amongst the top tier of scorers. Moffat and Hyman needed to step up and become the second line of scoring. Amongst the trio of PDG, Moffatt and Hyman, there is a collective two goals scored against the likes of RIT and Bentley - none in CCHA play.
Who knows who will be around in 2013-14, but as of now, I have no idea who the A candidates would be to assist Bennett if he is a Sr. captain. The team personality appears to be a bunch of young, quiet soft-spoken players
I hope the team proves me wrong, but I just don't see the necessary tools for this team to overcome the start. The 2011-12 version at least had a solid October to offset the miserable November.