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December 08, 1988 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-12-08

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Page 12 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 8, 1988


Some players wait several games to collect their
first assist or goal in their college hockey careers.
Rookie forwards Denny Felsner of Michigan and
Rod Brind'Amour of Michigan State didn't wait long
at all.
Felsner tallied a goal and two assists in his first
game, then proceeded to assert himself as one of the
Wolverines' top scorers. Brind'Amour also scored in
his first game, then proceeded to collect at least one
point in each of the next 11 games.
These two, along with Miami (Ohio) forward
Craig Fisher, are considered by many to be the
premier first-year players in the CCHA. Michigan
fans will have a chance to see Felsner and
Brind'Amour this weekend when Michigan hosts the
Spartans Friday night at 7:30 at Yost Ice Arena.
THEIR SKILLS have not gone unnoticed
around the league."Both players have made a mark on
the CCHA during the first few months of their
careers," said Bowling Green head coach Jerry York.
"Felsner seems to have really good offensive
instincts," York continued. "He went to the net well
against us. Brind'Amour clearly has everybody taking
notice of his outstanding play. His strength in front
of the net is really impressive."
When asked about making the transition to college
hockey, Felsner and Brind'Amour marvel at the
difference in the speed of the game and the strengh of
the players.
"Oh yeah, said Felsner incredulously. "It's so
much faster."
FELSNER IS known as a skater, "a flow
player," in the words of Miami head coach Bill
Davidge, and the faster college pace hasn't seemed to
phase him. He led the team with 17 points (nine
goals, eight assists) in Michigan's first 10 games.
Though first-year players cannot be depended upon,
Michigan head coach Red Berenson said that Felsner
was expected to be a presence this year. "You can
never be sure, but we felt Denny was one freshman
who was capable of doing a lot of things at this
Center Todd Brost has been surprised by Felsner's
early-season production. "Denny is big and strong and
he's got all the talent. He is an excellent player, not
just for a freshman," said Brost.
Felsner, who played for the Junior Red Wings
during his high school years, was not selected in the
NHL re-entry draft , but was highly recruited out of
high school. "I came here basically because of Red,"
said Felsner. "Some schools say, 'Hockey, just play
hockey.' Red's just the opposite. He says that school
comes first, not hockey."
FOR THE LAST few weeks Felsner has been
plagued by inconsistency - the bane of nearly every
freshman. He has been shut out for the past six

[den impact
make a difference

NBA's Heat will
rise over Hornets
NBA expansion teams are an odd.breed. They can be
identified by their youth, horrid won-lost records, and,
in the case of the Charlotte Hornets, uniforms designed
by Alexander Julian.
The two newest NBA teams, the Charlotte Hornets
and the Miami Heat, are keeping expansion tradition
alive by playing some of the worst basketball since the
Dallas Mavericks strutted their stuff in 1980. Charlotte
has a 4-11 record, and the Heat has started the season 0-
To the casual observer, it would appear that the
Hornets are progressing faster than the Heat. After all,
they won four games before Miami could get a single
Charlotte's superior record is deceiving. In time the
Hornets will look up to the Heat in the standings.
TWO SCHOOLS of thought exist when it comes
to building an expansion team. One philosophy, which
the Hornets have employed, is to grab some quality
veterans that become available in the expansion draft,
combine them with rookies, and hope for the best.
The Heat's approach was to accept the fact that their
team is going to stink for a few years. We're not just
talking Detroit Lions Stink here, we're talking Big-
Time Stink.
For the next couple of years, Miami will play
basketball so ugly that not even the players' mothers
will want to watch.
Still, the Miami franchise is taking the wiser
approach. The dean of its team is Scott Hastings, who
has six years of NBA experience. Instead of landing a
slew of capable veterans in the expansion draft, the Heat
thought ahead by making deals for several future draft
WHEN THE HEAT cashes in on these draft picks
and gets time to mature, the years in the cellar will have
been worth it.
Although the Hornets will rise from horrid to-
mediocre before the Heat does, it will seem like an*
eternity before Charlotte catapults to respectable.
It is easy to see why. Right now, Charlotte can snare
a win here and there because they have some veteran
talent. Sure, Kelly Tripucka, Robert Reid, and Kurt
Rambis aren't the most intimidating threesome in
basketball, but any team with a minimum of solid,
experienced players can win a few contests during an 82-
game season.
The Hornets will be in trouble, though, if Tripucka's
shooting ability leaves him (every other facet of his
game already has). Rambis and Reid aren't getting any
TAKE AWAY these three aging veterans, and
Charlotte is left with such marquee names as Earl
Cuireton, Tim Kempton, and Mugsy Bogues. Ugh.
It won't be long before Hornets coach Dick Harter
wishes he had some of Miami's draft picks.
History supports the Heat's strategy. Several short
years ago, the Dallas Mavericks, now one of pro
basketball's elite teams, were the epitome of athletic


Michigan's Denny Felsner races for a loose puck against Ohio State. FelsnerJESSICAsGREENcEDond

on the team in scoring with nine goals and
top rookies in the CCHA.
games. "The puck's just not going in, I'm hitting
posts and everything but the net," said Felsner. "I'm
going through a hard time now - I've got to
concentrate more."
For Brind'Amour, the adjustment to the CCHA
has, perhaps, been even more graceful than it was for
Felsner. "The team's been doing well and so far I've
been doing OK," said Brind'Amour.
On top of compiling a 12-game scoring string,
Brind'Amour is seventh in the CCHA in points -
one of five Spartans in the league's top 10 scoring
list. After Michigan State's series against Miami,
Falcons' center Rob Vanderydt called him the closest
he's seen to an NHL player at the college level.
Brind'Amour, who played his high school hockey
at Notre Dame High School north of Calgary,

eight assists, is being recognized as one of the
Ontario, was selected ninth overall in the NHL draft
by the St. Louis Blues. As one of the top college
prospects he faced a deluge of phone calls during his
senior year.
"It was kind of hard getting phone calls every
night," said Brind'Amour. "It's kind of hectic when
you've got 20 schools calling."
As a top NHL draft choice, he had the opportunity
to turn pro out of high school, but turned down the
chance to go to college. "I knew I had a long ways to
go," he said. "College was something I've been
meaning to do all along."
Brind'Amour says he chose Michigan State for its
reputation as a solid program. Considering that the
Spartans have won 15 games in 16 tries this season,
his choice hasn't worked out too badly so far.

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