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February 12, 1986 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-02-12

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 12, 1986 - Page 9

Blue Lines Ii
Soo soo serious fans.. .
.. .border on ridiculous
By SCOTT G. MILLER
News Flash: Paranoia pervades peninsula
LAKE SUPERIOR hockey fans are known to be devoted, but this
past weekend's display during the Lakers' sweep of Michigan was
beyond normal bounds.
Taking my seat in the press box Saturday night, Lake Superior spor-
ts information director John Farina was waiting for the Daily repor-
ters. Farina wanted to talk with a fellow Daily hockey writer about a
November 26, 1985 column he wrote. Needless to say, the SID wasn't
there to praise the piece.
The night became worse when I sat behind the Lake Superior bench
during the second period. I wanted to get a different insight on the
game and how it is coached for a story on Laker coach and New York
native Frank Anzalone. When I arrived behind the bench, a lady with a
heavy Brooklyn accent noticed my Daily press pass and asked, "Are
you the one that wrote that nice article?"
"No," I replied. But she interrogated me as to why I was taking
notes on what the coach was saying. I explained I was going to write a
story.
Evidently Mrs. Anzalone (I had a feeling it was her) didn't believe
me because she asked Jim Schneider, the Michigan assistant SID, to
have me removed from my vantage point behind the bench, a clear
violation of my constitutional rights.
The saga continued yesterday when I called coach Anzalone to ask
him a few more questions for my story. Anzalone was out so I spoke
with assistant coach Robert Mancini, who immediately asked me if I
was from that Michigan student newspaper. After I told him I didn't
write that article, he was more receptive.
All the commotion was caused by a column about rituals associated
with Laker hockey. Ringing bells, Seamore the Seaduck, and players
waving sticks are undeniably Laker trademarks'.
Additional commotion was caused by a comment in the story about
goalie Joe Shawhan's sanity. Shawhan's mystery "illness" before the
Friday night contest against Michigan in Sault Ste. Marie was
questionable. As was the leading goal tender in the CCHA's decision to
leave Lake Superior last season to play junior hockey in Alaska.
Shawhan deserves plaudits for his performance this year but that
doesn't mean my colleague was lying.
Personally, I like the Lakers' tough brand of defensive hockey. I
think coach Anzalone is doing an excellent job building a program for
a school that is not being flooded by phone calls from prospective
recruits.
A good program deserves fan support. I think it was great that Lake
Superior had an alumni reunion in Ann Arbor, which helped to get fans
to the weekend series at Yost.
I think it would be even greater if those fans displayed some class.
Saturday night the Laker fans mercilessly harangued the referee after
their team was leading 7-1. The referee called a good game, and the
taunting was unnecessary.
Even more unnecessary, were remarks of "Aw, isn't that too bad,"
by the Laker faithful when Wolverine right wing Brad McCaughey took
a puck in the shin. The Ann Arbor native was in obvious pain.
Laker fans go to great pain to support their team. I realize Lake
Superior's only Division I sport is hockey and that Sault Ste. Marie is
far from a paragon of excitement. I know Laker supporters don't ap-
preciate being made fun of by big bad Daily writers. But if hockey is
the basis of your existence (yes, you Laker hockey fan), then get a life.
There are more important things than hockey, believe me.
If you disagree, replies are more than welcome and can be mailed to
Scott G. Miller, c/o the Michigan Daily, Student Publications Building,
420 Maynard Stret, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
In Michigan hockey developments:
" The Rolaids Relief Award goes to Mike Rossi for making 11 saves
and shutting out the Lakers after replacing Tim Makris Saturday
night.
" Arnie's Army, the Arnold Morrison fan club, was out in full force
this past weekend. They weren't disappointed as Morrison (1-0-1) was
whistled for three penalties Saturday. Arnie Morrison fever, catch it!
" By his own admission, Bill Brauer hurt his chances for the Hobey
Baker award given to college's finest player. The prolific scoring
defenseman (1-1-2) was held off the score sheet by the Lakers.
" Todd Carlile is still just one two-minute penalty shy of tying the all-
time Michigan penalty leader Greg Fox at 127 penalties. Fans
everywhere are waiting for Carlile to be crowned the new Wolverine
penalty king.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
MEN'S GLEE CLUB
is offering
SINGiIG TELEGRAMS

for
VALENTINE'S DA Y

Turnaround: O'Connor helps
hockey rebound

By ADAM OCHLIS
Rarely has a telephone call made as1
great an impact on an athletic
program than the one Michigan
hockey coach Red Berenson received
at this time last year.
On the other end of the line was
Myles O'Connor, a highly touted
defenseman who had dominated his
high school league in a way that would
have made Wayne Gretzky proud. It
was time for the young Canadian to
choose a place to play his college
hockey, and he told Berenson that he
wanted to become a Wolverine.
FOR THOSE associated with
the Michigan program, this
was a day that will long be remem-
bered. In the two years preceding-
the arrival of Berenson, the'
Wolverines compiled a less than daz-
zling 27-48-2 record.
Snatching a player like O'Connor
was a step in the right direction.
"He was the first to come in that
made us feel that we were doing the
right thing," said Berenson. "It gave
our program some credibility when
everyone found out Myles O'Connor
was coming."
O'CONNOR,who figures he was
contacted by three-fourths of thk \
Division I hockey schools, viewed the
decision as no big deal.
"In the end," he said, "I just
narrowed it down to Michigan and
Harvard. I think Coach Berenson
was the main reason I decided to
come here."
So the Calgary, Alberta native
came to Ann Arbor with the word
"franchise" written on the front of his
jersey and "savior" on the back.
High school at Notre Dame College in
Wilcox, Sask. was too easy for O'Con-
nor, and his accomplishments on and
off the ice were numerous.
NOTRE DAME'S athelete-of-the-
year as a senior, he played football
and rugby as well as hockey. He was
valedictorian of his senior class and
was awarded the President's Cup for
excelling in athletics, academics and
leadership. All this and hockey too.
As Notre Dame's captain his last
two seasons O'Connor scored 27 goals
and 60 points his senior year. At one
time ranked 17th by the NHL scouting
bureau, the 5-11, 167 pounder was
drafted by New Jersey in the third
round.
The jump to major college hockey
has been a tough one for the flashy
blue liner, however. Despite O'Con-
nor living up to all the expectations
early in the season, as the year rolled
on, reality set in. The players were
stronger and faster than in high
school, and the freshman phenom
began to struggle.
"THERE HAVE been times of highs
and lows," O'Connor said. "At times
I've played good games but then at
other times I haven't played that well.
I realize that I can play a lot better.
"When I went into the slump, I kind.

of got down on myself. What do they
say, 'you have to sink to the bottom
before you start, rising back up,' so,
hopefully I'm on the way back.
up." Berenson, however, is not
worried about his prize recruit.
"I THINK we all get our expec-
tations too high for in-coming fresh-
men," he said "I think Myles is the
kind of player where you're going to
see his best hockey in his ensuing
years. He'll learn because he's a
smart kid."
And while opposing coaches around.
the CCHA rave about the kid some
call "Smiley," Lake Superior's coach
Frank Anzalone thinks the 18-year-
old will blossom with time.
"Myles O'Connor is a fine hockey
player," said Anzalone. "I think the
one thing he'd like not to see is not to,
have all this pressure on him that he

his troubles, but the academic com-
petitiveness of Michigan has caused him
to worry about things other than hockey.
"MYLES IS a top student and I'm
sure the challenges are even greater
for him to try to do well, not just show.
up," said Berenson who encourages
his players to take a full course load.
"I wanted to come to a school with
the credentials of a Michigan. It has
been difficult. that's for sure,"
O'Connor said.
No one doubts, however, that
O'Connor is a special talent. The fast-
skating, good stickhandling defender
knows that he has a lot of work ahead,
but it is likely that the name Myles
O'Connor will be another in the list of
NHL stars that attended Michigan.
Nobody is rushing him, though.
"I don't think Myles is looking to
change ships in the middle of the

stream," said Berenson. "He knows
that he has a long way to go before
he's ready to make any decision at
all."
And while the phone calls from big
name recruits are no longer few and
far between, Berenson realizes what'.
the name Myles O'Connor means to a -
program on the rise.
"He was the most notable recruit at.
the time that had made the decision to
come to Michigan and it kind of made
us feel like he was going to be a cor
nerstone of our building project."

"S.

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Daily Photo by PETE ROSS
Although freshman defenseman Myles O'Connor came to Michigan as a
highly touted recruit, the Calgary, Alberta native has found the transition
to major college hockey difficult at times.

has to be a great player. Myles just.
deserves time."
BUT FOR someone who would
rather talk about team accomplish-
ments rather than individual honors,
O'Connor notes that the pressure has
been there ever since pro and college
scouts began watching him three
years ago.
"The pressure is there to perform
wherever you go, so it's something
you learn to cope with," he said.
O'Connor will not make excuses for

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