Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mailbag question: Hockey

Posted at 8:00am -- 3/18/2010

Mailbag question: Hockey

Hey guys,

I cannot believe the turn around in this team the last two weeks, they must honestly believe it is now or never for them.

What do you guys think happens now with Hogan?

Do you go back to him if he is ready to play, or do you go with the "hot" goalie?

Does this team have to win the CCHA to get in or can they just win one game and make the CCHA championship to get into the NCAA tournament. It would be sad to see Red's run in the NCAA tournament end.

Greg R.


Thanks again for the questions.

Very simply, Michigan has had the talent to beat most teams this season. The difference is, they are getting a complete effort from every aspect of their game.

1. Goal scoring from each line, including a suddenly hot Louie Caporusso. It doesn't mean that this team is as offensively gifted as previous teams. It means that the talent on this team is finally executing their opportunities, which is coming from the defensive work they are doing.

2. A more concerted effort to play defensive hockey- meaning that the forechecking and backchecking is much more passionate, the defensive zone clears have been better and the battles along the boards are being won.

3. Solid Goaltending. I don't know if Shawn Hunwick is the answer long term, but he has proven in his relief stint that he can make the stops he should. He still has his "moments" and needs to work on his crease positioning and overcommitment, but for the most part his teammates believe in him and that has helped them focus better on their overall game.

4. Special teams. Penalties are still a problem, especially with the team already shorthanded. But they are getting more PP production and still are one of the better PK teams in college hockey.

If Bryan Hogan is healthy enough to play next week it will be a difficult call for coach Berenson to make. Hunwick is not going to steal games, but obviously has had a large influence in how this team has amped up their play. I think this is Hunwick's job to lose now in the playoffs, even if Hogan is healthy. For the long term, Hogan will be the goaltender. We'll see what happens next Fall, especially if Michigan lands another goaltender.

As far as the NCAA picture, it is pretty clear that Michigan most likely has to win the CCHA tournament to gain an auto bid. See my MSU weekend game re-cap for more details about the NCAA picture.

Written by Yostmeister

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

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