Page 10 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 3, 1988
O'CONNOR'S LEADERSHIP BOLSTERS 'M' ICERS
Matter of Blue
BY TAYLOR LINCOLN
During the hockey team's opening series
sweep of Miami, head coach Bill Davidge twice
pointed out rules technicalities which landed
Wolverine defenseman Myles O'Connor in the
"He's their quarterback out there, we had to do
whatever we could to get him off the ice," said
Davidge after the game.
Myles O'Connor is a veteran leader who's
seen the good, the bad and everything in between
during his days as a Wolverine defenseman.
O'Connor chose Michigan for its academics
and for the opportunity to play for head coach
Red Berenson, a former NHL player and coach.
But during his first two years, the Wolverines
laboured through eighth- and seventh-place fini-
shes in the Central Collegiate Athletic Confe-
"For my first two years, it was tough on the
confidence," said O'Connor. "It was frustrating to
be giving up seven and eight goals a game. There
was a different attitude on the team. Losing had
become instilled in the team."
A member of Berenson's first recruiting class,
O'Connor has progressed with the team. "When I
came in, there was a lot I still had to learn," said
O'Connor. "I thought I'd be able to step in and
do pretty much what I did in high school. I
learned pretty quickly that wasn't the case."
One of the first lessons in learning to play
college hockey was learning to stay on the ice.
During his first couple of years O'Connor spent
a combined 184 minutes in the penalty box,
leading the team in penalties as a sophomore.
"My first and second year I took a lot of
retaliation penalties, but now I just try to stay
out on the ice. I've learned to turn the other
cheek," said O'Connor.
"A couple of years ago other players would go
out of their way to hit him because they knew
that he'd react," said Berenson.
In his junior season, O'Connor cut his
penalties by nearly one-third. Combined with the
influx of new defenders and the improvement of
goalie Warren Sharples, the Wolverines gave up
49 fewer goals than they had the year before -
over one goal per game. The result was eight
more wins and the Wolverines first winning
season in six years.
Staying out of the penalty box though hasn't
meant abandoning physical play. "He's a tough
kid - lie plays defense the way it's meant to be
played," said Berenson. "As much as he'll
intercept passes, he'll play the man with
"He's learned to play not only with the puck
but he's learned to play without the puck. He's
become a smart two-way player."
Now, as a senior, O'Connor is the the team's
co-captain along with fellow senior Todd Brost.
He is as well known for his offense as his
defense. He is fourth in career goal scoring for a
Michigan defender with 31, and needs only 10
goals this season to eclipse the all-time mark. f
As a third-round draft choice of the New Jersey
Devils of the NHL, O'Connor could have
skipped college to go straight to a pro hockey
career, but the Calgary, Alberta high school
valedictorian decided to pursue a college degree
and to play college hockey.
For O'Connor, the decision not to go straight
to the pros was rooted in security. "For the
average guy hockey only lasts for a couple of
years out of college, if at all. A lot of my friends
went the junior route (minor league hockey) out
of high school and they're still in the minors.
Some of them don't even have high school
degrees. For me, college is something to fall
"He's a classic example of what college
hockey is all about..." said Berenson. "He's been
challenged all four years and he'll graduate on
time. Hopefully he'll have a career in hockey
after he leaves Michigan."
Senior co-captain defenseman Myles O'Connor has helped the
Wolverines jump out this season to second place and a 4-1-1
record in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
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Through the eyes of
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Southwestern Bell Corporation will be on your
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November 9, 1988