Now that I’m done playing home wrecker at Disney, I’m starting to get back in to the swing of things here in the north. Thank you to everyone who passed along wedding wishes to the Mrs. and I. It was a day I’ll never forget (though we both wish we could forget the rest of the week leading up to the day…total Murphy’s Law). Bonus: I even got the garter toss stuck in the chandelier, which made all the single guys standing there erupt in to celebration and high fives as they all got spared. Score!
While I was gone…
The biggest news was junior defenseman Jon Merrill made it official that he was returning to Michigan for another season. Though widely expected, Merrill did toss around the pro option a bit more after attending the New Jersey Devils prospects camp.
Michael Spath of The Wolverine caught up with him to talk about his decision…
“I didn’t want to make a decision I would regret and it just felt right to come back,” he said. “It means a lot to me to play for Michigan.”
And how he wants to improve this season…
“When you watch the best defensemen, they’re tough to play against. You want to be a shutdown guy. You can’t give that forward any room and make his job easy for him. If you’re in his face, in his body, he can’t create, and he’ll get frustrated, and that is something I really want to work on. I want guys to see me across the ice and want a shift change. I want them to not want the puck because they know if they have it I’ll be on them.”
Game Time Changes
MGoBlue announced that three games this season have had their starting times change. The new times are:
- February 1 vs. Michigan State – 6:30 p.m.
- February 22 at Ohio State – 6:30 p.m.
- March 1 vs. Ferris State – 6:35 p.m.
As of August 21 this is what the inside of Yost looked like…
Let there be light!
NHL Contract Talks and College Hockey’s Impact
Chris Peters has an excellent story on USCHO about the ongoing NHL labor talks and the impact it could have on the college hockey landscape.
Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves and Miami’s Enrico Blasi talk about the last round of contract talks and how NHL general managers felt the new contract structure and entry-level pay scale would discourage kids leaving early for the pros, but instead had the opposite effect as the NHL brought in a youth movement.
Since then college hockey coaches have held talks with the GMs, per Nate Ewell of College Hockey, Inc., and one of the big issues this time around to try and help out college hockey will be setting a deadline for NHL teams to sign college players.
“That was impacting college hockey because we were losing kids in July and August,” said Eaves, a former NHL player. “Where are you going to find a college hockey player at that time? Well, you’re not.
“We want to piggyback off [the European] ruling if [players are] not signed by June 15, then they could not be signed. The precedent had already been set with European players.”
While this won’t stem the flow of kids making last minute decisions to opt out of college hockey for major junior hockey, it will help prevent decisions being dragged out all summer (e.g. see Merrill above) and a trickle down effect that results. For example, if Michigan loses Merrill, do they go out and try to find a last minute filler from the USHL ranks or ask a 2013 recruit to possibly come in a year early? It has happened before—Andrew Ebbett came in a year early after a late departure—and not only does that effect Michigan, but the junior team they are then taking a player from as well.
Major junior hockey, on the other hand, is making a lot of noise after word of a possible union forming for CHL players. Again, I turn you to Chris Peters, who has another excellent write up on the possible effects it could have on college hockey.
Need a loan? Call former Wolverine Max Pacioretty, who signed a six-year, $27 million deal with Montreal. Western Michigan goalie Frank Slubowski wins Goalie Mask Design of the Year. Sparty, NO! The annual Michigan State student-athlete beat down allegedly took place Saturday night involving Spartan hockey players. It will be interesting to see what comes of this, and, if the time comes, how MSU coach Tom Anastos handles the situation.