People Who won’t be Suiting up in Maize and Blue

Max Pacioretty, Michigan Hockey forward, has decided to forgo his remaining three years of eligibility and sign with the Montreal Canadiens. Pacioretty’s departure means that Chris Summers will likely move to forward.

Robin Benzing, a signee in the 2008 class for John Beilein’s basketball squad, has been denied initial eligibility by the NCAA. This means that Michigan will likely refocus its recruiting efforts for future seasons, though there will be little effect on this year’s team. Even if Benzing was eventually allowed to play, he was expected to have to sit out the 2008-09 season.

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Porter wins Hobey Baker Award

The cherry on top of a shit sundae, but good for Kevin nonetheless.

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Well, Darn

With a sucky game against Notre Dame last night, the Michigan hockey team’s season has come to an end. It appears as though their scoring explosion in the NCAA tournament may have been a true trend, rather than an aberration based on a 7-goal game.

If Notre Dame and Michigan State win NCAA championships in back-to-back years, my mental health will take a huge hit.

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Stat Breakdown: Michigan v. Notre Dame

Michigan’s matchup against Notre Dame won’t be the first this year. The two CCHA squads met up in a home-and-“home” series back in January, with Michigan winning their home game 3-2 and the “away”game at the Palace 5-1. How did each team do this season before and since that series? Let’s take a look.

Category Before Notre Dame Notre Dame Since Notre Dame
Games 22 2 18
Against Tourney Teams 4 2 (obvs.) 9
% Against Tourney Teams .1818181818 1 .5
Goals 91 8 67
Goals/Game 4.136 4 3.722
Goals Against 39 3 42
GAA 1.773 .75 2.333
W-L-T 20-2-0 2-0-0 11-3-4

Michigan seemed to get a bit worse as the year progressed, though it is important to note that they played far more games against tournament teams in the second half of the year (including all games against MSU and Miami, against whom Michigan went 1-2-1 and 2-0-1, accounting for almost half of their non-wins on the season).

Notre Dame
Category Before Michigan Michigan Since Michigan Sans Condra
Games 26 2 18 4
Against Tourney Teams 9 2 (obvs.) 3 4
% Against Tourney Teams .346 1 .167 1
Goals 81 3 47 12
Goals/Game 3.12 1.5 2.611 3
Goals Against 50 8 35 8
GAA 1.923 4 1.944 2
W-L-T 19-6-1 0-2-0 9-6-3 2-2-0

Note: “Condra” is leading scorer Erik Condra. All of ND’s games in the final column are a subset of the “since Michigan” column, and Condra will miss the game tonight. Against Michigan, Condra had 3 shots, and a +/- of -1. All year, he was 15-23-48 in 41 games (.91 ppg). Notre Dame’s second leading scorer is Ryan Thang, 17-13-30 in 45 games (.73 ppg).

Notre Dame’s statistics went way down in the scoring department, and remained about constant in the goals against department. The offensive stats are even helped by a 7-goal goame against New Hampshire, which included 2 empty netters as the Wildcats tried to get back into the game (and as Michigan fans groaned that they’d rather be watching their game against Niagara than a blowout. Thanks, ESPNU!).

The majority of Notre Dame’s positive stats came in the beginning of the season, when they actually faced off against more teams that made the NCAA tournament. Since their better stats in the second half came from the New Hampshire game (offensively, at least), it may stand to reason that the Irish got worse offensively – even before they lost Condra.

My prediction is that neither Michigan’s 3-2 nailbiter over the Irish at Yost, nor their 5-1 shellacking in the Palace will repeat itself. Michigan will win this game by a 4-1 score that is aided by a late empty-netter.

For more Frozen Four hockey coverage, check out the Blog That Yost Built.

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The Old Barn: Sources Consulted

Da compleet seriez: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5. Substantive hockey update coming before tonight’s game.


Yost Ice Arena is Michigan’s hockey hot spot

A Historical Tour of the University of Michigan Campus

Yost Ice Arena

Fifty Years of Cameron Indoor Stadium


Brian Schick: Yost still boasts the best fans on campus

Yost’s “’improvements’ aren’t worth it for fans

In print:

Canham, Donald B. From the Inside: A Half Century of Michigan Athletics. Ann Arbor: Olympia Sports Press, 1996.

Hilton, John. “Don Canham’s Empire.” Ann Arbor Observer Sept. 1983: 67-77.

Bacon, John U. Blue Ice: The Story of Michigan Hockey. Ann Arbor: Olympia Sports Press, 2001.

Bacon, John U. “Fielding Yost.” A Legacy of Champions: The Story of the Men Who Built University of Michigan Football. By Joe Falls, et al. Ann Arbor: F. Svedbeck Publishing, 1996. 14-73.

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The Old Barn: Part 5

Many buildings in college athletics are better known than Yost Ice Arena. Cameron Indoor Stadium, the L.A. Coliseum, and even The Big House on Michigan’s own campus have garnered far more attention than has Yost Ice Arena. So what makes Yost more important to the history of college athletics than any of these places? First, unlike the L.A. Coliseum, it was built by the University, and has been owned by Michigan in the entire duration of its existence. Unlike Cameron Indoor Stadium, which has been the home only to Duke’s basketball team, Yost has housed nearly every sport at Michigan in some capacity. Finally, the longevity of Yost is the key factor that makes it perhaps the most important building in college athletic history. Being the first field house makes Yost a groundbreaking development in college football history. According to Kip Taylor, “People figured, he’s off his rocker… But everyone in the country has a Yost Field House now”. The house that Yost built was the first, and it can be copied, but never replicated. And even though its purpose has been radically changed, it is known as one of the best college hockey facilities today. Yost Ice Arena is more important than any other building in college athletics history.

The Old Barn at 1000 South State Street looks unimposing from the outside. The casual observer would have no idea that it is the home of college hockey’s most successful program, with an NCAA record 9 national titles. However, step inside the doors during a Michigan hockey game, and it is like walking into a different world. “As sophomore defenseman Chris Summers insists, it’s difficult to describe all that goes on during Michigan games, with spontaneous ribbing and insulting of opponents, off-color chants, pep band contributions and the energy of the building. ‘But once you have been here for five minutes of a game, you understand,’ he says.” Even at Michigan, where football will always reign supreme, Yost stands out as “the greatest place to watch a Michigan sporting event on campus.” Whether in 1923, when it was built, or today, Yost is one of the best and most important buildings in college athletics.

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The Old Barn: Part 4

Basketball moved to Crisler Arena in 1967, leaving behind The Old Barn for The House that Cazzie Built. Yost Field House lost its biggest draw, and for the next six years, it would not replace hoops with a major sport. That all changed in 1973, when the Michigan hockey team moved from Weinberg Coliseum to their new home at Yost ice arena. The reason wasn’t necessarily that Yost was such a good venue, but rather that The Coliseum had fallen behind the times: “The arena was horrible,” said Don Canham. When Don Lund suggested moving the hockey team to Yost, Canham was willing to do what he needed to. Of course, Yost was a building designed for many sports to be played in it, and hockey wasn’t one of them. However, Athletic Canham was able to renovate the Old Barn to make it suitable for the hockey team to move in. For $400,000, Yost changed from an all-purpose field house to an ice arena fit for one of the premier teams in the WCHA. Of course, Canham’s decision was a wise one, like most he made in his tenure, turning Michigan’s Athletic Department from a sinkhole for money into one of the most profitable in the nation.

Today, Yost Ice Arena looks very different from the way it did when it was built as Yost Field house in 1923. Though the exterior is basically unchanged, there are a few key differences. Ice permanently covers the playing surface of the building, and the seating arrangements have been adjusted several times over the years. In 1996, Yost underwent a major renovation, in which press facilities were upgraded, seating was added on the north end of the ice, and a new home locker room was constructed. Because of this renovation, seating was decreased substantially. Just 5 years later, the arena was again changed. Balcony box seating and a club lounge were added on the east side. These improvements to Yost Ice Arena were intended to improve the hockey experience for spectators and players. The Michigan Daily, however, was no so fond of either renovation.

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The Old Barn: Part 3

When Yost was still being used as a field house, it was the home to several Michigan sports. In fact, every Michigan sport except for swimming has used Yost in some capacity. Competitions for track and field, basketball, and several other sports have taken place in Yost. Additionally, it has been used as a practice facility for several sports. From its very start, Yost field house was used as a practice facility for Michigan football. Michigan baseball also used the field house as its practice facility. Locker rooms and showers for all sports were one of the many features included in the original design. Yost also housed the equipment room for all sports, under the direction of managers Henry Hatch and Jon Falk. Don Canham so associated them with the Arena that he said “I still think of [Hatch] when I go into Yost Arena. Yost has served a variety of purposes in Michigan athletics over the duration of its existence, giving it more importance than those buildings which have served a singular purpose.

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The Old Barn: Part 2

In 1923, the first ever field house was built on State Street. When proposing the idea, Fielding Yost even coined the term: “All it is is a field with a house over it, so let’s call it a field house.” At the time, Yost Field House was the home of Michigan track and field, basketball, wrestling, baseball, and practices for football. Yost, who was Michigan’s athletic director when it was built, thought that such a facility would give Wolverines sports teams an advantage over those from other schools, for practicing and competing. He knew that, although Michigan was near the pinnacle of college athletics, constructing Yost Field house would maintain or even improve this position. This was just another example of the foresight and attention to detail that Yost possessed, and his prediction that the field house would be of great use to Michigan proved to be a correct one.

Yost Field house was the first building of its type on any campus, and its construction may be partially credited for the obsession in today’s athletic departments with building new facilities to attract recruits and train athletes. “Everyone in the country has a Yost Field House now” says Kip Taylor. He alludes to the fact that, although Yost was the first field house built, everyone soon realized what a genuinely good idea it was, and followed suit. As the building was in the planning stages, Fielding Yost knew that he would like it to be named after himself. However, at the time, naming buildings against living people was against university policy. However, behind strong support from the students at Michigan, Yost was able to convince the administration to break the “no living legends” rule. The rule has also since been forgotten in the naming of such buildings as Schembechler Hall (built in 1990, Bo Schembechler died in 2006), Crisler Arena (built in 1967, Fritz Crisler died in 1982), and Canham Natatorium (built in 1988, Don Canham died in 2005) (Bentley Historical Library).

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Hobey Hat Trick Announced

Kevin Porter was announced today as a finalist for the 2008 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, honoring college hockey’s top player. The winner of the Hobey Baker award will be announced live on ESPNU Friday the 11th at 7:30 Eastern. Here’s what the Hobey Baker Foundation had to say about Porter:

Kevin Porter of Michigan is a senior forward who almost single-handedly helped Michigan to their national record 23rd Frozen Four. Last weekend in two games at the East Regional, Porter had a hand in six of the seven Michigan goals, bagging five goals and one assist, including four goals in a 5-1 win over Niagara. He is the nation’s scoring leader in points and goals with 33 goals, 29 assists for 62 points in 42 games. Porter sits second in the nation with 15 power-play goals; has recorded 18 multiple-point games and has a plus-minus of +33. His steady, consistent two-way play didn’t go unnoticed as he was named the CCHA Player of the Year and was a finalist for the league’s Best Defensive Forward. The First Team CCHA honoree was named the Hockey Commissioners January National Player of the Month. From Northville, Michigan, Porter is a draft pick of Phoenix. A general studies major, Kevin spends time with visits to Mott Children’s Hospital and volunteers for various Make-A-Wish Foundation activities.

If Porter doesn’t win the award, it’s an even worse sham than Hensick not making the Hat Trick last year.

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