Thursday, March 04, 2010

Mailbag question: Michigan Hockey questions

Posted at 4:00pm -- 3/4/2010

Mailbag question: Michigan Hockey questions

Hey guys,

This has been a real disappointing hockey season.

I really thought with the frozen four in Detroit that Michigan would find a way to get there and pack the place.

Well that is not going to happen and I wonder if you guys know why?

Yes, the team is fairly young, but they had a veteran goal tender back and a very experienced coaching staff.

Maybe I am too hard on the hockey program, but with the football team struggling I really thought that the hockey program would turn it around and push to get to the frozen four.

How disappointed do you think Red is with this team and how does he fix it for next year? Any information on getting a replacement at goal tender in the recruiting class since we had a goalie go AWOL.

Keep up the good work and also keep bringing the hockey news.

Tim S.


Tim, Thanks for the question.

I think I can speak for all Michigan hockey fans when I say that this season has been full of underachievement. It just is a coincidence that the NCAA Frozen Four will be played in Detroit this season- the first time since 1985- Red Berenson's second season behind the Michigan bench.

GBMW blog followers know that I am as mystified as anybody why a team full of experience and talent hasn't executed well on the ice. Michigan has remained relatively healthy until this week, so that isn't a valid excuse. The best I can figure is that Michigan's team chemistry and leadership are lacking. I have answered this question in different ways throughout the season, but what it comes down to is that this team does not have the offensive firepower to overcome the defensive lapses, discipline and goaltending issues encountered this season. If UM does not play well defensively for the whole sixty minutes, then this team simply will not win games, which is pretty much why they are a .500 team. Players are still making the same mistakes, whether it be poor back checking, poor defensive zone play, or soft goaltending. They have not been able to put together consistent good play from period to period, or game to game. Whatever the problems are off of the ice, there must be quick resolution because Michigan returns all but three starters next season.

Coach Berenson has all but admitted that this team lacks offensive punch and needs to/must focus on the defensive game. He has been especially critical of the goaltending, which I assume will be a focal point of additional recruiting efforts during the off-season.

Looking to the future though, Michigan is expecting a freshmen class that will bring a pure goal scorer, a couple of solid defensemen as well as one offensive minded defenseman.

As far as goaltending, Bryan Hogan will be a senior and is much more capable than he demonstrated this season. Michigan is looking to sign at least one more goal tender to round out the incoming class. As of today, there are two candidates Michigan is at least looking at. When the Wolverines get official word on a commitment, I'll pass it along. Those two candidates are Jeff Teglia, who currently plays for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, and Joel Vienneau, who stars for the Kingston Voyageurs of the OJAHL. Both goal tenders have sparkling numbers for their teams and remain uncommitted- although Vienneau is said to be headed to Minnesota. He also has offers from St. Lawrence, U-Mass and LSSU. The likelihood of Michigan securing this young man is rather slim, although still a possibility. I also believe LSSU received a commitment from another goalie this past week and is backing off of Vienneau.

Teglia has had talks with Michigan, but did not receive an offer once Jack Campbell committed. When Campbell reneged, Teglia hoped Michigan would begin inquiring again. Teglia is a Chicago native and would prefer to go to Notre Dame- which doesn't sound interested due to their roster commitments- and has a limited financial offer from Yale. Colgate also showed interest but has since backed off. He is a very good student and says he is ready to move up to NCAA Division I competition. He could also sit out another year and play again for Omaha until he finds the right fit for him. The Lancers have a good history of promoting successful Division I goal tenders- specifically for MSU (such as Drew Palmisano, Jeff Lerg and Dominic Vicari). Wisconsin's current net minder, Scott Gudmandson, is a former Lancer, as was UNO standout and current NHL goal tender, Dan Ellis. Michigan alum and former backup goal tender from the late 90's-early 2000's, Kevin O'Malley, also toiled in Omaha.

Stay tuned to GBMW for any updates and for my pre-season incoming class of 2010 review.

Written by Yostmeister

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

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