The Dangers of Exhibition Games

There are definitely two different dangers of exhibition games.  The first is that you can never really gauge how well you did against an exhibition opponent.  How good are they really, especially compared to the rest of your competition for the year?  Does a 7-3 win mean you played well, or does a 3-2 loss mean you played poorly?  The truth is you don’t know, and you certainly can think you are better than you are, or lose confidence thinking you aren’t as good as you thought as well.  Michigan won 7-3 this year, and it’s really hard to gauge if this was a good win or not from that point of view.

My thoughts from the viewpoint I have in Section 25 are that in the first period we looked sluggish.  Perhaps this was caused by the early scoring opportunity by Treias that certainly looked like a goal, but was eventually waved off, or perhaps it was just the overall pace, but either way most of the energy seemed to come from Windsor in the 1st period.  The result of the period was a 1-0 lead for Windsor with I believe two goals waved off for the Maize and Blue.  In the second period we played with more energy, scored more goals, but we also started out with a habit we picked up last year, which was too many penalties.  We can’t afford to have our players sitting in the box while we try to kill off power plays as it also limits our scoring opportunities.  In the end you can say that we scored enough goals that it might not matter, but we need to take less penalties in future games including tonight if we expect to win.  After the first period, things looked more energetic and I thought the play was positive.  In fact, after the first period I really felt like we played more like this was a midseason game than an early exhibition.

The second danger is of course that you could suffer injuries in a meaningless game.  Even though both coaches wanted to make sure that their teams came through without injuries in this exhibition game, this is after all a contact sport and the Wolverines sure seemed to come out on the short side of the danger curve.  I have a unique advantage over some of you because I sit right next to the tunnel and it’s much more obvious to me when players leave the ice and I can often see what is going on.  We now know that Merrill is seriously hurt and is going to miss some time.  When he got up and almost immediately went back down I knew he was in trouble, and a few shifts later when he left the ice looking very pale and shakey I figured that at best he had a good concussion, and it could be worse, which of course it has turned out to be.  A cracked vertebrae is nothing to mess with and I expect he’ll be out for several weeks.  What seems to have received a lot less coverage, and perhaps because it isn’t as serious is the injury to Selman.  He came off the ice with a bad cut to the back of his leg just below the knee.  There was a lot of noticeable blood showing through his sock and although I haven’t heard any official reports, it wouldn’t surprise me if he is missing for a few weeks as well.

I want to get this posted and game time is soon, so I’m going to upload the pictures and go.  I’m feeling pretty good headed into the game tonight.  Root them on as I’ll be missing from section 25.  Tonight.  I’ll be following on twitter and game tracker as best I can.  See you all tomorrow night.

 

The @ChildrenofYost!

Not a very good angle. It’s the Yost Flag

New tradition? Rutledge thanks the team after the 1st period.

PDG brings the puck across the blue line

Another shot of PDG. More of my thoughts on him in a future post.

Trouba lets loose a shot. It’s not the one-timer I mentioned in my tweet, but fun to watch!

We Win!

 

Blue Defeats White as the Michgan Season Faces Off!

It’s that time of year, the one that Michigan hockey lovers dream about all summer, it’s the annual Blue/White scrimmage.  Normally, we get a quick fix from the alumni game in late July or early August, but with the renovations to Yost, there wasn’t an alumni game this year.  Since the NHL is currently locked out, a few of the Alumni were able to come in and join the Blue/White scrimmage and give us a taste of both.  After the scrimmage, Luke Glendening brought the Grand Rapids Griffons in for a exhibition game as well.

This week is going to be full of hockey news and I wanted to get this initial post out.  I don’t know if I’m going to be able to post after every game, but the hope is to share enough to keep you up to speed with what the team looks like from my vantage point in Section 25.

In many of the past years the scrimmage has looked pretty rough.  Freshmen trying to earn a spot on the roster might have varying levels of success at making an impression and often the game might look a little sloppy.  I spent a lot of time behind my camera for this scrimmage, but I didn’t have that impression of the team at all.  I’m actually very excited about the incoming group of freshmen and several of them look ready to make immediate impacts on the team.  In fact, for the first time in years I didn’t really see a freshman that looked out of place on the ice.

I was surprised to see Rutledge take the ice as the starting goaltender given the reports of his eye surgery that came out earlier in the week.  He looked a little uncomfortable at first, but looked more and more solid as the game went on.  He was the losing goal tender for the white, but he definitely is going to make an impact on this team.  Janecyk stood between the posts for the Blue team and held the white team to just two goals and looked very solid.  It’ll be interesting to see how the goalie lineup filters out, but where I was worried going in, I felt like we may be stronger in net than I was expecting.

Handsome Goalie – #28 Rutledge

Returning Goalie – #30 Janecyk

On the defensive side of the puck, we added Jacob Trouba, who looks to be a monster on the ice.  There has been a lot of twitter activity mentioning Mr. Trouba as the guy who can wreck you on the ice.  Obviously there wasn’t a lot of hitting in the scrimmage, but I think we can look forward to some solid hits from #8 throughout the year.  I’m looking forward to seeing him display some hits on the other team starting tonight.

#8 Mr. Trouba – aka JMFT

The third freshman that made a positive impression on me was Boo Nieves.  I had heard a little about him, and while he didn’t score a goal in the scrimmage, I saw a lot of little things that he seemed to do well.  He’s also a bigger body who can skate, and can handle the puck really well.  He fit in well with the upperclassmen and he already seems ready to contribute.

#12 – Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves

The story of the night might have been Guptill though.  I know there has been a question about how we are going to replace the scorers that we lost as seniors from last season.  If the scrimmage could be considered any indication at all, Guptill with his hattrick could be part of the equation.  His third goal was an absolute snipe top corner from the circle.  I know that there was a lot of buzz about that goal alone.  I’m hoping this will carry over into the season. 

#27 Guptill, owner of the hat trick!

It was strange to see Glendening show up in a Red/White and Blue uniform on Sunday, but it was good to see him still skating.  I’m hoping that if the NHL plays again some day we may see him take the ice at Joe Louis for the Red Wings.  It was great to see him again and  he carried the same hard working attitude in the 4-2 win over the Lake Erie Monsters. 

Our former captain sporting the Griffons Jersey – #10 Luke Glendening

Last but not least, a few lessons from Sunday Night:

  • @yostusher is a hall of fame Yost Usher, you heard it here first!
  • The chicken finger basket in the new concessions was pretty good at the hefty $8 price tag.
  • Taking pictures at an afternoon scrimmage is challenging with all the lights coming in the new windows.
  • If you’re at a bar and you’re sitting across from some girls you’re trying to impress, make sure that you know what you’re talking about if you start talking hockey.  Some of them probably know a lot more about hockey than you do.
  • When the puck drops tonight, the 2012-2013 season will technicallly begin, and I have very high hopes for this team.  I hope you do too!