Archive for Mason

Izzo best coach in Michigan History? Try John MacInnes…

Posted in General Hockey, General Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/01/2010 by Ben Gilbert

In the interest of full disclosure on this one, I am a proud Michigan Wolverine so everything that follows in this post should probably be taken with that in mind…but I digress.

Jemele Hill recently posted this very, shall we say, provoking piece on ESPN.

In this piece she claims that Tom Izzo is the greatest sports coach in Michigan history.  Without dredging up too many stats and other general figures, I thought I would offer a brief response to Jemele.

Michigan is a hockey state.  In my opinion four coaches that have to be considered some of the best to ever teach and lead teams in this state are the Wings own Scotty Bowman, Michigan’s Red Berenson, MSU’s Ron Mason and Tech’s John MacInnes.

Allegiances aside, therefore taking out Berenson who I love and Mason who I dislike but have the utmost respect for, I think it can be argued that John MacInnes is the greatest Michigan coach there ever was.

As Wings fans it is certainly fair to argue for Scotty.  No Scotty means No Hockeytown.  No Hockeytown means no established culture of winning.  This means no cups, no 19 straight playoff runs etc.  I understand all this, but I want to counter Jemele on her level.  We’ll exclude Bowman because he was already “Great” before he got to Detroit.

John MacInnes played in goal for U of M during his college career and then in the 1950’s took the one and only coaching job he would ever have, Head hockey coach at Michigan Tech.

For those of you unaware, Michigan Tech is located in Houghton, MI.  That’s in the Keewenaw area of the Upper Peninsula, approximately 10 hours from the metro Detroit region.  It’s isolated, and there is not much of a recruiting base up there.  Yet, despite the remoteness and lack of resources on both an institutional and local level, MacInnes coached MTU to 3 NCAA titles from 1956-1982.  He took the team to countless other WCHA championships and NCAA tournament appearances. Given the location of the school and the academic quality expected from the players (top-notch engineering students) it can be argued that no coach in Michigan history did more with less.  Sure Tony Esposito came through the school, but honestly, almost no other NHL talent came through during MacInnes’ run.  He took more or less no-name recruits and turned a school with a student body of roughly 5,000-6,000 students into a national powerhouse year-in and year-out.

To put in perspective what a great coach John MacInnes was, USA hockey offered him the coaching job for the 1980 olympic team.  He turned them down because of his health.  It was only after MacInnes’ withdrew his name from consideration that the committee went with Herb Brooks. (And we all know the outcome of that decision…)

In summary, I can respect Tom Izzo for the great coach that he is.  He’s easily top 5 in the state, maybe even top 3 once all is said and done.  However, Michigan is a hockey state.  In regards to a “Michigan man” who lived in Michigan, played for Michigan, did more with less and preached a true all-in team style, there is no greater coach in the history of our fine state than John MacInnes.

Feel free to comment/dispute/offer your ideas.  Also, I know this post has been a relatively big aside from all things Wings, but where do you think Scotty and/or even Uncle Mike should rank when considering “Michigan” coaches?

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Preview: St. Louis Blues

Posted in General Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , on 11/28/2009 by Ben Gilbert

Detroit Red Wings vs. St. Louis Blues

November 28th 8:00pm, Scottrade Center

Game Notes:

  1. Khan reports that Brad May will be back in tonight, but in a surprise turn of events, Kirk Maltby will be benched to keep Drew Miller on the ice.  This is some high praise for Mr. Miller and he deserves it.  He’s been one of the Wings most consistent forwards throughout this slump, so why not reward that.
  2. Howard is likely to get the start in goal, not that this matters in the least until the Red Wings decide scoring goals is part of hockey again.
  3. St. Louis is in 5th in the division, Detroit is in 4th.  Hopefully tonight the Red Wings can keep it that way.  Who knew a quarter of the way through a season Detroit would be a part of a battle of the bottom dwellers of the division matchup.  This is what we have come to, and the only way out is to claw our way back to the top.
  4. Chris Mason starts for the Blues tonight, not our old friend Ty Conklin.  I don’t know if this is good or bad, since we know how Conks can play when he wants to.  Maybe we’ll have as much luck on this Mason as we did on youngster Steve a few weeks ago.  (9-1 against Columbus in case you forgot…)

Bold and Stupid Predictions:

  1. Zetterberg scores twice.  Breaking the scoring drought and providing some much needed leadership by example for the Wings forwards.
  2. The referees do not blow a goal/no-goal call tonight.  Surprising, but hey, it could happen.
  3. Brad May gets in a fight. (Not bold or stupid, but it’s been a few games so I’m excited…)
  4. Despite all the odds, I think that playing back-to-back helps the Wings.  Their anger and passion carries them to a 2nd period lead they do not relinquish.
  5. Final Score: Red Wings win 3-1.

Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets

Posted in General Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , on 11/10/2009 by Ben Gilbert

First off thanks to Rob over at The Production Line for the mention of the Stu Grimson vs. Tie Domi fight below.  I hope to make Random Fight of the Night a feature of all my game reviews.  Watching old hockey fights is just too much fun not to.  Hopefully I will continue to be able to find gems for you, the find readership of BTC.  Anyway, on with the pertinent hockey talk.

The Red Wings play a road-game the night before Steve Yzerman night at the Joe.  Coming off of 3 days rest they should be fresh.  Normally I would believe the anger of a loss like saturday’s 5-1 stinger to Toronto would be inspiration for the team…but they have yet to show that kind of resiliency and fight this year.  I can only hope they are pissed.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

November 11th 7:00pm, Nationwide Arena

Game Notes:

  1. Obvious point #1, The Red Wings are now without Jason Williams who is out for a minimum of 8 weeks as Snapshots reports.  Coupling this with Filppula, Franzen, Eaves’ “sore” foot, and general fear of the swine flu, we’re on some seriously thin ice with the roster.  So far Kenny Holland has stated that he will not bring anyone up from Grand Rapids and is not in the trade market.  I guess if anything more happens, Derek Meech could always see playing time at forward again.  Great joy of joys.  This injury bug isn’t going away.  Hopefully it only makes the team stronger by getting some of the youngsters a load of playing time.
  2. Steve Mason and the Blue Jackets are 2-0-2 over their last 4 games.  The two OTL’s were against the Sharks and the Penguins.  One of the wins was over the Capitals (albeit without Ovechkin) and the other was a comeback victory over the Hurricanes.  They are playing relatively better than say 2 weeks ago and should prove a decent test for the Wings.
  3. Rick Nash is plain scary to start the year.  He’s got a balanced 22 points in 16 games to start the season.  By balanced I mean 11-11, including 2 PP goals and 2 SH goals.  He is a man possessed right now, and we’ll need the finest effort from our defensive core to keep him and his line at bay.  Here is to another Kronwall/Stuart lay-out.
  4. Per Khan, it appears the Red Wings were working on the Power Play in practice and that Brad Stuart will try being point man for the 2nd unit in replacement of Williams.  Hopefully Brad will contribute something on the offensive end, which always seems a bonus for him considering his penchant for stay-at-home play and crushing checks.
  5. Also per Khan, Jimmy Howard will start in goal.  Jimmy Howard was not impressive against the Oilers in his last time out.  In fact, Jimmy Howard is just plain unimpressive.  I hope to see this turned around.  A big save on Rick Nash or R.J. Umberger could go a long way.

Bold and Stupid Predictions:

  1. Stuart picks up a PP assist manning the 2nd unit.
  2. Howard drastically disappoints again and we are left wondering if we’ll make any moves at all this year at any position.  I know we have a stable of forwards and D-men, but until Jimmy Howard shows something more, I’m uncomfortable with him as our only back-up option.
  3. Ville Leino does anything with his 2nd line playing time.  Literally I’m predicting I notice him once, and that’s it.  This would be better than in some games past.
  4. Draper/Helm/Eaves have at least 2 short-handed scoring chances, but fail to put one in for a goal.
  5. Steve Mason plays a solid 60 minutes and gets my fantasy team a win (unfortunately, not the team I actually want to win the game.)
  6. Final Score Blue Jackets win 4-2