Michigan Hockey Preview (Part 1): 1000 ft. view

Gregory Shamus

Part 1 of the MnB 3-part season preview

Hockey can be, at times, a land of cliche and Red Berenson is the master.

- We gotta get into the tough areas.

- Gotta get to the net.

- Can't score if you don't shoot.

- We're taking it one game at a time.

- If you go (Insert area of ice), good things happen.

- Sauce.

- Good/Bad team effort.

- Not enough/good compete (noun).

- A full 60 minutes.

And so on and so forth.  A Red Berenson interview is a clinic on when and how to utilize these.  With Michigan's impressive 22-year NCAA Tournament streak snapped at the hands of Notre Dame in the rear-view, the appropriate turn of phase is "Every streak starts at 1."  College hockey teams, and hockey teams in general, run hot and cold like no others in major sports.  Ride a hot goalie, get a few bounces and all of the sudden you're sniffing the National Championship game.  (See Hunwick, Shawn).  More so than in any other NCAA championship, any team tournament in can win it.  This puts the emphasis on getting into the tourney in the first place.

The task of getting a young team's resume up to par that was struck by early departures, but improved in maturity, once again falls to the statue-worthy Berenson.  Mgoblue.com has a pre-season Q & A with the man which highlights what we can expect from this year's schedule and new conference.  Poignantly, the first question is about the brand new 6-team Big Ten Hockey Conference:

Q: Is there added excitement to start the 2013-14 season with this being the first year of Big Ten ice hockey?
A: "I think every year has some things to look forward to and every year also has some questions about your team and how ready they are. I think the big thing that we're looking forward to is the Big Ten Conference. Our schedule is very tough, especially in the first few months of the season, and we have a very young team, with 10 freshmen. I expect to have a good portion of them in the lineup just about every night. This will be a real test for the youth on our team, but it will also be a test for the experience on our team, to help us get off to a good start. I know there's a lot of excitement in the locker room already, that we're getting ready for our first official practice on Monday."

The schedule (with TV listings) features Non-conference tilts with perennial East Coast powerhouses Boston College, New Hampshire and Boston University as well as a CCHA throwback series with Michigan Tech. Michigan will also see Western Michigan, MSU, and Ferris State at points throughout the year.

The Wolverines can look forward to a lot of TV Time thanks to the BTN, Comcast local and the various Fox outlets.

Day Date Time Opponent Box Recap TV
Sun. Oct. 6 4:30 ET Waterloo EX FSD
Thu. Oct. 10 7:00 ET Boston College NC Comcast
Sat. Oct. 12 7:05 ET @ RIT NC TWCS
Fri. Oct. 18 7:30 ET @ New Hampshire NC WBIN, FCS
Sat. Oct. 19 7:00 ET @ New Hampshire NC WBIN, FCS
Fri. Oct. 25 7:00 ET Boston University NC Comcast
Sat. Oct. 26 7:00 ET Massachusetts-Lowell NC Comcast
Fri. Nov. 1 7:30 ET Michigan Tech NC
Sat. Nov. 2 7:00 ET Michigan Tech NC FSD
Fri. Nov. 15 8:07 CT @ Nebraska-Omaha NC CBS
Sat. Nov. 16 7:07 CT @ Nebraska-Omaha NC
Fri. Nov. 22 7:05 ET Niagara NC Comcast
Fri. Nov. 29 7:00 ET Ohio State B10 BTN
Mon. Dec. 2 7:05 ET @ Ohio State B10 FSD, STO
Thu. Dec. 5 7:00 ET US Under-18 Team EX FSD
Wed. Dec. 11 7:05 ET Ferris State NC FSD+
Fri. Dec. 27 7:00 ET Western Michigan Great Lakes Invitational NC FSD+
Sat. Dec. 28 3:30/7:00 ET Michigan St/MTU Great Lakes Invitational NC FSD
Fri. Jan. 10 8:00 CT @ Wisconsin B10 BTN
Sat. Jan. 11 7:00 CT @ Wisconsin B10
Fri. Jan. 24 6:30 ET @ Michigan State B10 BTN
Sat. Jan. 25 7:00 ET Michigan State B10 FSD
Fri. Jan. 31 6:30 ET Wisconsin B10 BTN
Sat. Feb. 1 7:30 ET Wisconsin B10
Fri. Feb. 7 7:00 ET @ Penn State B10
Sat. Feb. 8 5:00 ET @ Penn State B10 ESPNU
Fri. Feb. 14 8:00 CT @ Minnesota B10 BTN
Sat. Feb. 15 7:00 CT @ Minnesota B10 FSN, FSD, STO
Fri. Feb. 21 6:30 ET Penn State B10 BTN
Sat. Feb. 22 7:00 ET Penn State B10 FSD+
Fri. Feb. 28 6:30 ET Ohio State B10 BTN
Sun. Mar. 2 1:00 ET @ Ohio State B10 FSD, STO
Fri. Mar. 7 7:00 ET Michigan State B10 Comcast
Sat. Mar. 8 7:00 ET @ Michigan State B10 FSD
Fri. Mar. 14 6:30 ET Minnesota B10 ESPNews
Sat. Mar. 15 7:00 ET Minnesota B10 BTN

This is not an easy path to the NCAA's, but Michigan's pairwise rankings should be buoyed by what should be an impressive strength of schedule.

The USA Today and USCHO.com pre-season polls, the accuracy and value of which is questionable given their fickle nature,  put Michigan 10th and 11th,  respectively, with Wisconsin (3rd in both) and Minnesota (5th in both) the early season favorites to win the first ever B1G title(s).  No other Big Ten teams cracked the lists.

Keep an eye out on MaizenBrew for Forward and Defense/Goalie corps analysis in the coming days.

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