Icer's sad season ...
0. is effort to blame?
The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, February 14, 1978-Page 11
Big Ten race-
Michigan State ... 10
Purdue ............ 8
MICHIGAN ....... 7-
Indiana ........... 6
Illinois ............ 5
Iowa .............. 3
down the stretch
MICHIGAN STATE -- home 3):
Ohio State, Northwestern, Illinois
Purdue, Minnesota, Wisconsin
MINNESOTA - home (3): Pur-
due, Michigan State, Michigan
away (3): Illinois,
Ohio State, Indiana
PURDUE - home (3): Michigan
State, Iowa, Wisconsin
away (3): Minnesota,
MICHIGAN - home (2): Illinois,
away (4): Wiscon-
sin, Indiana, Minnesota, Northwest-
MICHIGAN at Wisconsin
Michigan State at Purdue
Indiana at Ohio State
Minnesota at Illinois
Northwestern at Iowa
Michigan goalie Rick Palmer
may not be wondering where his
defensemen are at this moment,
two weeks ago against Notre
Dame, but he might well be as
defense has not been the Wol-
verines strong point this season.
ALL LADIES Admitted Free
Appearing ThrU Sunday:
AIR COA DO
By PAUL CAMPBELL
AVING DIED TWO more small deaths, this time in remote and un-
friendly Duluth, the Michigan hockey team crawled back into town to
struggle with the rest of its season in peace. Visiting hours for relatives and
friends will be 7:30-10:00 on Fridays and Saturdays for the next two weeks.
But before the coffin lid swings down, let's take one last hard look at the
team which has been so underwhelming for the past two months..
When it was young, it was such a lovely thing. It seemed able to score at
will, as it clearly destroyed the likes of Denver, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
But that was to be expected. After all, this team had very strong bloodlines.
It was sired by last year's team, which came within a goal of winning it all.
As the offspring of Secretariat are allcexpected to win the triple crown, great
things were expected of Michigan hockey 1978.
But, if you'll excuse the extended metaphor, a few thoroughbreds were-
lost in the transition from last year to this. Gone were Kris Manery, Greg
Natale, and Rob Palm'er. It took a while for the significance of those losses to
surface. It seemed unimportant as Michigan cruised to a 7-3 WCHA mark by
whipping Wisconsin twice.
But even back then coach Dan Farrell was quick to point out his team's
weaknesses. "I said at the start that a lot of 'ifs' would have to come through
to make this team good," recalls Farrell. "If the defense shaped up, if the
goaltending continued to be good, if Lerg and Maurer both had years like last
year-we had (going into the season) a lot of weaknesses."
A case of unfulfilled 'ifs'
According to Farrell, the only 'if' that has panned out is Lerg, who is
having another fine year but was forced to miss a chunk of tht season
because of a leg injury.
As for Maurer, he looked fantastic last year (38 goals, 38 assists) mainly
because he was centering for a wing of Manery's caliber.
If Maurer misses Manery, the whole team badly misses the services of
Palmer and Natale. "If I had those two back, we'd put on more pressure
than you could believe," said Farrell. Which doesn't seem to make much
sense at first glance, since the two were defensemen of only modest scoring
threats. But they could get an offensive rush started by getting the puck out
of their own zone. This year's defensemen haven't been able to complete that
crucial first pass that gets things moving.
"If we flew out of the zone like last year, we'd be tough" is how Farrell
puts it. The scorers are still there but it matters little if they can't get the
puck in some coordinated offense.
Also, last year Michigan had a graduate assistant who worked
specifically with the goalies. He's gone this year, and with him the magic
Rick Palmer possessed in the stretch drive last year. Farrell has used Frank
Zimmerman and Rudy Varvari extensively, but they both are subject to
mental lapses which lead to cheap goals.
Then there are the road trips. After sweeping Wisconsin on December 2-
3 (that was last year, wasn't it?) the icers went on the road for successive
weekend series with Michigan Tech, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Not only
were they beaten six times, but they were outscored 36-16.
"The road trips destroyed us," said Farrell. "Last year confidence bred
confidence as we won. This year the opposite happened."
Schedule is no excuse
But somehow the schedule falls short of being the perfect excuse. Last
year's team lost seven in a row, but bounced back to win 12 straight. Why
can't this year's team do the same?
I don't think that the problem lies with the coaching. Farrell is doing
pretty much the same things he did last year. When he made an instictive
move last season, it always seemed to result in something good.
This year when he meddles, he seems to get burned time and time again.
As Farrell himself describes this pitfall of coaching, "When you fiddle
around and win, you're a genius. When you do it and lose, you're an idiot."
If the coach is at fault for this year's performance, it is because he didn't
recruit players good enough to make up for last year's losses. But to his
credit, he will be one of the first to admit this.
The problem lies with the players. They got a false impression of how
good they were before the season. They banked on last year's success to
carry them. Even early in the year, when they were winning, it was usually
on a third period spurt. They weren't playing their hardest for the whole
Because they simply aren't as talented a team as last year's, this year's
players had to work a little bit harder. Not all of them have.
Daily Photo by BRAD BENJAMIN
Having a ball?
Alan Hardy battles it out with MSU's Ron Charles (15) in last Saturday's 73-62
loss to State at Crisler Arena. The Blue resume Big Ten action Thursday night
when they battle the Badgers at Madison.
Arkansas numsber 1
after Kentucky loss
r"MUSIC AND MEAL DEAI7'l
Dine at the restaurant after 4:00 P.M. and
receive FREE admission to Nightclub that eve-
'516 E. Liberty 994-5350
By Associated Press
"I would be the first to admit we
would have more than one loss if we
were in the Big Ten, the ACC or the
SEC," commented Arkansas coach
Eddie Sutton yesterday after his
team had been ranked number one in
this week's AP poll.
It is the first time in history that a
Southwest Conference team made
the top of the poll. Sutton also said
that his squad's record (23-1) de-
served recognition, noting: "We
beat LSU at Baton Rouge 67-62 and.
Kentucky lost to LSU at Baton
KENTUCKY'S loss dropped them
to third, with Marquette claiming
second. Meanwhile, Notre Dame,
which lost to DePaul at home last
Sunday, dropped from fourth to
Michigan State was the only Big
Ten team in the top twenty, being
rated tenth. Detroit remained
ranked, despite a loss, taking the
number 19 spot.
1. Arkansas (24) ........... 23-1
2. Marquette (14) .......... 19-2
3. Kentucky (12) ........... 17-2
4. UCLA (1) ............... 18-2
5. New Mexico (1) ......... 19-2
6. Kansas ..... ....... 20-3
7. Notre Dame..........16-4,
8. DePaul (1) .............. 19-2
(tie) DAILY LIBELS ..... 4-0
9. Louisville ............... 16-3
10. Michigan State .......... 18-3
11. North Carolina .......... 20-5
12. Texas ................... 19-3
13. Providence .............18-4.
14. Florida State ............ 18-3
15. Illinois State ............ 20-2
16. Syracuse ................ 16-4
17. Virginia ................. 17-4
18. Georgetown, D.C........"17-4
19. Detroit .................. 18-2
20. Duke ................ 17-5
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Six games remain in the regular
schedule. Because the WCHA believes
in reincarnation (eight of 10 teams
make the playoffs) Michigan's season
will probably extend to a two game
road series against one of the league's
top teams. Their 3-12 road mark speaks
well to their chances there.
Bdit, if they are to have any hope, it
must be reflected in improved perfor-
mances these next three weeks. Should
the players summon up all the effort
their pride allows, they have a chance
to dull the edge of disappointment
which hangs over the 1978 season.
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The program is an EXTRA for cadets who can qualify to be-
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