Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesday's Hearsay and Conjecture

Four Wolverines Taken in NHL Draft

If you're not a hockey fan scroll drown, because likely to missed, forgot about, didn't realize it existed, or were too infected with World Cup Fever to acknowledge the NHL Draft occurred this past weekend.

It was a good/bad day for the Maize and Blue.

Good: Three studs taken in the first round. And they're all young! Incoming frosh Trevor Lewis, forward, was taken by the L.A. Kings with pick 17 in the first round. Sophomore defenseman Mark Mitera was picked by the Ducks of Aneheim two slots later at 19. Incoming Freshman defenseman Chris Summers was selected 29th by Gretz and the Coyotes. Late in 7th round, with the 201st pick Billy Sauer went to Colorado.

Bad: Three studs taken in the first round. While none of them were picked high enough to warrant bolting for money, it makes your eye twitch a tad realizing that if these guys have breakout years there's the very real possibility they could all be gone at season's end. Thankfully, the new economic realities of the NHL make it more feasible that they'll stay. Still, it makes me jumpy. Other than Sauer, no other Michigan player was selected during the draft.

The Skinny: Looking at the roster, Michigan is littered with first round picks. Along with the three mentioned above, you've also got Jack Johnson and Andrew Cogliano who were first rounders last year. Three first round defensemen, young defensemen, will certainly shore up the blueline in the long term. The outlook is good for next year's blueline as Johnson, Mitera, and Summers are sophmores or freshman. While Summers will certainly add to the defense, Lewis' appearance will bring more punch to an offense that sputtered badly against top competition.

Of the Three first rounders here's how their stats played out last year.

Mark Mitera (MICH) - (39 GP) - (0G - 10A = 10pts) - (24Pen - 59 PIM) - (+5)
Trevor Lewis (USHL) - (56 GP) - (35G - 40A = 75pts) - (69 PIM) - (+25)
Chris Summers (US-U18) - (59 GP) - (6G - 11A = 17pts) - (87PIM) - (too lazy to calculate)

Least Favorite Draft Rumor

Jack Johnson (#3 2005) for Jordan Staal (#2 2006). While the deal never materialized, it was widely speculated that the Penguins would trade the #2 pick to Carolina for Jack Johnson. Had that happened, the chances of Johnson bolting would have gone through the roof as he and Crosby are good buddies. Fot the Pens Johnson would've immediately stepped in as their #2 defenseman. I have serious doubts that the Pens top three of Eric Cairns, Brooks Orpik, or Ryan Whitney would've been able to keep Johnson off the ice. Thankfully, it didn't happen and Johnson remains in Ann Arbor. I will find whoever started this rumor, then kick them in the jewels.

Fluff for All: A nice little fluff piece on Billy Sauer in the Ann Arbor News. Putting last season behind him. Focusing on the Team. Goal is to win a national championship. yada yada yada.

Just Like The NHL Playoffs, Only Longer
Coaches Want NCAA Basketball Field Expanded to 128

Expanding the NCAA tournament to 65 teams annoyed me a tad, but, what the hell. A play-in game for two small schools to battle each other to the death for the right to get crushed by UConn. Actually, a nice concept. Kind of like cock-fighting, but less humane.

There is a proposal on the table from NCAA coaches association to expand the NCAA Tournament, The Dance, to 128 teams. The evil jackass who presented this abomination was Jim Haney, executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. In addition he proposed selling the children of poor nations for food, melting the polar ice caps to produce more clean drinking water, and that drinking the blood of endangered animals will make you immortal.

Haney stated, "[The expansion proposal is] based on several things. First, there are a lot of good teams worthy of making the NCAA field, and second, the size of 64 or 65 has been in place for a number of years." Great reasons. By that rationale I should have no trouble getting into Yale for business school. These sound like Brigham Young's reasons for more wives and kids.

For once, thankfully, the NCAA has come out against the expansion. NCAA vice president for men's basketball Greg Shaheen said there wasn't much support for the proposal and that many people feel the tournament is the right size as it is. NCAA president Myles Brand, who was bathing in $100 bills and scrubbing himself with a wash cloth made from baby seal pelts, could not be reached for comment.

Amaker is already working on his press conference rationales for why Michigan didn't make the field of 128 should the proposal ever go into effect.

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