On getting the team ready that day… Typically not in routine for an afternoon game. Did not have a morning skate. Team had a meeting and meal at Yost, went home and had afternoon to themselves. Left Yost at 1:15 p.m. Did Victors Walk, which was kind of neat. From then on, it was just game time. During the week, it was just the preparation for the game and not everything else. Got some of the “wow” factor out by practicing there every day. I think that helped. But even when we walked out there for warm ups, it was still something special. But it wouldn’t have been fun if we didn’t have a good game.
Coming out of the tunnel… Wasn’t a surprise. Knew it was coming. But until you walk down there and got a feel for it, the energy of the crowd, they wanted to see something good.
Touching the banner’s hockey connection… Former head coach Al Renfrew’s wife Marge started the banner tradition. She sewed together a blue sheet, 4×8, in 1952. Put it together and got it started.
Bacon asked Hunwick (away from mic) if he touched the banner. Bacon says, “Good. How high did you have to jump?” Shawn says he touched it with his stick.
On the jerseys… throwbacks from the 1948 team. Turned out pretty good. Looked even better than we thought they would. MSU did not wear throwback jerseys.
On what happened to Bryan Hogan… They were debating who the starting goalie would be and decided on Hogan. Had good record and experience in outdoor game last year. Told them Thursday. Disappointing for Shawn when told because they both competed hard. Decision made, they moved on. During warm ups Saturday, Hogan tore the tendon in the groin. “Significant.” As a goalie, you can’t play with this. He was hurt. This is what happened to him last year. We were in the locker room, I got the news, I said, “Well, our goalie better be ready,” and he was. Not a short term injury. At least two months. A skater could probably recover quicker, but not a goalie. Probably 4-8 weeks.
Bacon essentially repeats that groin injuries heal slow and he guesses Hunwick will be busy the next few months. Red says, “There must be an echo in here.”
On the day… If you had to orchestrate a day, starting with the weather, the fans, the mood in the building, all the hockey alumni that came back. Outside the disappointment for the players who couldn’t play in the game–though they did get to dress and warm up–everything was excellent. Then when that stealth bomber came over, “That was awesome.” That was well orchestrated whoever did that, “and I know who did.”
Merrill first goal… That was goal was going to be huge. MSU doesn’t have a lot of offense or confidence, but if they scored first they can take you out of the game like they did Minnesota. Good shot, their goalie had no chance. Good for our crowd, good for our team, not good for our opponent.
Crowd noise… Noise at Yost is one thing, the noise at the stadium is another. It was good, it was significant.
Merrill second goal… Just one of those things. Jumped up to join the rush. Rust made a good play on their defense. I don’t think their defense was as focused as they needed to be. Rust made a great play to Merrill for the goal.
Hagelin goal… Our team was still focused on the game. Remembers MSU had a goal disallowed right before it. Then we go down and score, and now we’re starting to roll.
Hagelin second goal, another PP goal… Well, you’re playing for a lot of things. Thought we back checked well. Didn’t allow odd-man rushes to develop anything. PKers did a good job. Shawn did a good job. Defense did a good job. Even at the end you’re playing for something. Wanted to get Shawn the shutout. Always playing for something.
On the ending of the game… thought we could have played better in that last minute stretch. But we didn’t give up a goal. Not as close as a 5-0 game. Like the Red Wings game last night against LA. Detroit outshot them by 2-1 margin but couldn’t score.
What a feeling to win after talking about this game for a year. Put our best foot forward, give our fans something to get excited about and remember for a long, long time.
On winning heading in to break… I think it’s huge. We’ve been pretty good at times. I think we can be better. But that’s definitely a good way to finish off the first half of the season.
Relief nothing went wrong… We were ready for whatever. Sleet, snow, rain, we would play the game. There were no blizzards that kept anyone away. It wasn’t one of those games where people bought tickets but no one showed up. The fans seemed happy. They stayed for the fireworks. The stealth bomber. Everything.
Did you look around, take it in? Oh yeah. But you can’t forget about the game. That’s the most important thing. But from our venue it was incredible. People sitting indoors loved it. Outdoors loved it. It was the real deal. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Walking the tunnel out… I was just happy about the win. After all the work, all the planning that people went above and beyond to help out with everything over there.
I’m enjoying talking about it now because we don’t have a game for a few weeks, but we have to move on. It was good. Proud to be a part of it. Players felt privileged to be a part of it. Rick Comley called today and said it was the greatest thing he’d ever been involved in. They really appreciated it as well. Just like we did at The Cold War. I was excited about the outdoor game (at Spartan Stadium) and they did a terrific job over there. We all embraced it. Weren’t sure if they embraced it coming here, but they liked everything but the scoreboard.
On the shutout… Pretty special event to be a part of. His brother Matt watched it.
On being in the game… Kinda skating around in warm ups flipping pucks looking at the crowd. Saw Hogan hurt, thought something was wrong, was told he wasn’t coming back in and left for locker room. Once I saw Bryan leave the ice I knew I was going in.
On being told so late… I think it helped not knowing he was going to play. Would have been nervous. Thrown in at last second, just try to get ready to go.
On leading team down the tunnel… It was awesome. Disappointed I wasn’t going to get the start. Bryan was playing a little better. But coming down the tunnel, it was exciting. Lets go, lets do it. Terrific.
On touching the banner… Doesn’t touch the one at Yost. Debated touching the banner. Figured it’s a one time thing, he had to touch it. Touched with his stick.
Told by Bacon he’s the first hockey player ever to touch the banner at the Big House… Wow. That’s amazing.
Difference for him in this game… Was more focused. Tend to play better in bigger games. Trying to figure out how to get ready for every game the same way.
On if the sight lines and wind affected him… Sight lines not bad. Practiced there all week, got used to it. Wind got a little cold. But it was perfect. Glad it wasn’t Sunday we played.
Did you look around… During TV time out I looked around more than normally, but nothing too crazy. Wanted to stay focused, get the shut out.
Superstition in hockey no one says the “S” word… during game not many people coming up to talk to me. But I’m saying it to myself.
One of his best games, was in control… Felt comfortable all week. Thought he had good practice. Early in the week saw writing on the wall, didn’t think he was going to play. Started working with Josh Blackburn on refining his game for second half of the season.
On his teammates… Guys played great. Had 34 shots, but only a handful tough ones. No breakaways. PK was good. Everyone back checking, playing hard. Easy to work hard in front of 113,000.
On the crowd noise… it was noisy, but a different type of noise than at Yost. There it felt like it was noisy, always something going on. It was good, exciting game to play.
End of the game, three stars, he not named a three star but fans wanted to see it… Pretty funny, both shut outs in his career he wasn’t named one of the three stars. It was great, but I don’t like being in the spotlight. Couple of guys joking that there’s 25,000 girls here, he better go out and take a bow.
Ian Hume shoved him out there. Told Hunwick they’re calling for him, you gotta go.
On the fireworks… When we scored that first goal, I was a little scared because I forgot about the fireworks. A little rattling.
On the women, someone had to contact him after the game… Got messages from boys and girls. Got 50 text messages. Bunch of Facebook people wanting to add him. Carl Hagelin probably had most Facebook requests and texts from girls.
On getting ready for second half of season… He’s here till the 23rd. Not going to be home for long. Stay in shape, ride the bike, wants revenge for what happened in the GLI last year losing to RPI.
Did you rub it in to your brother… Of course I didn’t rub it in, why would I? We have a great relationship. Bacon jokes, “That’s not what I hear.” Shawn went out to Fenwick to watch Matt play the outdoor game with the Boston Bruins last year, and all he could think about was playing in this one.
Part of the late 80s teams. Bacon calls it the class of heavy lifting. Went from losing to winning program. Yost started filling up, recruits started coming. Out of whole batch, he was one of a few to see NHL action (he played three games with the NY Islanders)…
On being one of the few NHLers from his era… Surprising stat to hear that he was one of a few to make it that far. Had a few games in Detroit. Still had friends at the university make the game. Was pretty special.
On the three games he played… just getting out there, skating with those guys and knowing you can compete at that level. One game he spent most of the game on the ice then Ken Morrow taps him on the shoulder asking him if he’s ready to go out there and he’s thinking come on, lets go. Got a couple shots on net and that’s about it in the stats column. Jokes that he’s putting his degree to good use.
Michigan presence in Hollywood… Lawrence Kasdan’s son is a director. Saw Michigan on Turner’s resume. It’s worked for me, but in that case it didn’t work for me. Like any business, keep cracking at it and making it work in acting and stunt business.
On then Calgary to Ann Arbor pipe line in his class… Five or six players before him from Calgary area. Michigan hasn’t gone to Calgary much in the past ten years. But a big group back then.
On being in entertainment business… I got in to it through hockey. Mystery, Alaska filmed in Alberta. Got caught up in it, wanted to work in the business. Work for a production company. Then when jobs in stunt performing come up. Been a part of a lot of bad hockey movies. Alex Roberts jokes on the phone “that’s just a waste of time.” Very lucky if the movie holds up and Mystery, Alaska is one of those movies.
On The Big Chill… Missed the alumni game and the get together, but had a great day Saturday seeing everyone. When he’s out of town, he get to talk about it to strangers. Really nice weekend to come back and reawaken you to the great tradition you’re a part of.
Thing most impressed about the team is you’ve seen them over the years and they have a real enjoyment of playing the game. It’s contagious. It’s exciting. Not just the new age of the new medium, new jerseys, helmets. It’s really taken off and it’s exciting.
Where can we see you soon? Double-actor in Supernatural (CW Network). Stunt actor part. On TV show Smallville. Just finished a show in Vancouver, too.
On which hurts more, being a stunt man or playing NHL hockey… it’s all about how you prepare yourself. If you prepare, nothing is going to faze you.
Advice for Hunwick… get yourself one girl and stay with that one girl. And if you can make it last longer, stick with that.
Went to bar with other players, now they’re the 40 year old guys and didn’t stay long. Probably wasn’t a good idea going to bars when he played, too.
On pride in the program… Over years you value, you appreciate anything you’ve earned. Couldn’t say that first couple of years after graduating. But you care, you respect the tradition you learn here and want to honor it. He understands it at a deeper level now. That’s what makes these weekends great to come back and participate in it.
On leading league with fewest goals allowed… We’re competitive in the league and that’s where we should be. Know we can get better. Consistency issues. Giving up leads. Little glitches along the way, team has to get through them and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Need the mentality they aren’t going to give up the bad goals, easy goals, unearned goals. Special teams could be better. Breath of fresh air to score three PP goals and PK not to give up any against Michigan State. Still think best hockey is ahead of us.
Losing players for GLI… Merrill and Brown are both candidates. Going to camp in New York, then team will be picked and we’ll know if we’ll have them for GLI. Merrill went last year. He was young, but they wanted him to experience it. Think Merrill will make it and Brown, too. Important we have a good game against Michigan Tech and get into that championship game.