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February 15, 1980 - Image 15

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-15

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, February 15, 1980-Page 15
HUMBLE BUT EFFECTIVE:
Soft-spoken Blum deserves notice

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By BOB EMORY
Assistant hockey coach John Gior-
dano describes him as an "unnoticeable
player." But, he adds quickly, "When
you're not noticed that much on the ice,
it usually means you're doing the job.
And John Blum definitely does his job."
Blum is a junior defenseman on the
Michigan hockey team, and while he
doesn't score like Murray Eaves or
make the rink-long dashes that Tim
*anning occasionally does, it is his
oliddefensive play, the "un-
noticeable" stuff, that has been one -of
the factors in the team's success this
year.
"HE'S A VERY hard worker," says
Giordano, who coached Blum for three
years at Notre Dame High School in
Harper Woods. "He's probably one of
the two or three hardest working

the seat of their pants. Which, at 6-2 and
190-pounds, is also something he does
well.
BUT THAT solid style of play, the
"unnoticeable" stuff, wasn't always the
way Blum played the game, as his for-
mer (and now present) coach explains.
"If you would've seen John play in the
eighth grade," says Giordano, "you
would've thought he was going to be the
next Bobby Orr ... very offense-min-
ded, always rushing the puck and
trying to score.
"His sophomore year at Notre Dame
he was the same way. We had to work
with him to teach him to be more defen-
sive, teach him to stay back home (on
defense). Now, through his hard work,
he's the complete opposite of what he
used to be. Very solid, a very good
defensive player."
That would probably be the highest
compliment a coach could pay Blum,
for it is his defensive shills that he is
most concerned with. "I try to be solid
and steady in my play," says the soft-
spoken Warren native. "I take pride in
my defense, that's my job. If they don't1
score while I'm'out there, then I have
done my job."
BUT FOR someone who concentrates
on defense so much, Blum does manage
to get in a lot of goals. He is currently
fifth on the team in overall scoring with
six goals and 33 assists. "Well, my shot
has improved," explains Blum. "I've
also gotten a lot of points on the power
play.1
Ah, yes. The power play, Giordano;
took control of it this year and he has
molded it into the most potent power
play in the country. The Wolverinest
have scored at a 40 per cent clip with a
man advantage so far this season, while1
no other team in the WCHA has done
better than 33 per cent.
Giordano suggested to head coach
Dan Farrell that Blum be put on the
point on the power play with Manning,
and the combination has paid off.
"They work the point real well back
there," said Giordano. "Tim's more of-
fense-minded while John is more defen-
sive; it's a good combination."
WHILE BLUM is enjoying his most
productive season in the scoring depar-
tment, he is also staying out of the
penalty box. "I don't think I'm getting
the cheap ones this year," he explains.
"You know, stupid slash or something.
We were losing a lot last year and it was
frustrating. It seemed like I was getting
challenged a lot more last year, too."

For that matter, the whole team was
challenged a lot last year. In particular,
the players' patience and their nerves
-AsV
were challenged the most. Blum at-
tributes the remarkable turnaround the
squad has made this year to a "family"
spirit, a tighter bond of hard work and
discipline that is prevalent. "There's a
closeness on this team that we didn't
have last year.
"The defense took a bad rap last
year," he continues. "And I think one of
the reasons our defense has done so well
this year is because we have regular
partners. Last year, we never really
knew from week to week who we'd be
playing with - and that hurt. This year
we've each gotten to know our partners
so well (Blum teams up with Steve
Richmond) that we complement each
other."~
ON THE ICE, Blum is the type of
player who does his job quietly and
well. But what about off the ice?
"He doesn't have a lot to say, does he?"
asked Giordano. "He's humble."
That certainly rang true throughout
the interview. Asked to describe what
kind of player he is, Blum replied, "Ah,
I don't know. That's a hard question to

answer.. . you'd have to ask the
coaches. You know, I'm not going to tell
you I'm great or something like that."
.Off the ice he is quiet, to be sure.
Humble? Yes. How about affable? No
doubt about it. On the ice he is a hard
worker, to be sure. A good defen-
seman? Definitely.
But unnoticeable? No way, you just
have to look harder.

DOWNTOWN

HZMHQ'S

114 East
Washington

jZ LAST
MARRIED ( !)UPLE
b 4 fl eAof 'e

P.4

Blum
... hard worker
layers I ever coached at Notre
name." Giordano coached there for
seven years before joining the
Michigan staff this season, so that
praise is not to be scoffed at.
Blum is a very defense-minded
player. The kind that plays the man, not
the puck. The kind of player that every
coach would like to have twenty more
of. You won't see him caught up ice
trying to keep the puck in the offensive
zone while opposing wingers are
"breaking out athighspeed.,
If that happens, Blum is already
skating backwards, ready to play
defense or ready to knock someone on

i

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The season will consist of three plays and
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42

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