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November 11, 1994 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-11

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16 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 11, 1994

Liut adds experience to 'M' net.
13-year NHL veteran joins Wolverine coaching staff

Daily Hockey Writer
The 1994-95 Michigan hockey
team features many new faces, but
not all of them belong to the Wolver-
ines' celebrated freshman class.
Veteran National Hockey League
goaltender Mike Liut has joined the
Michigan coaching corps as a volun-
teer assistant this season to work with
the team's goaltenders.
After the graduation of netminder
Steve Shields last year, Michigan coach
Red Berenson knew that goaltending
would be one of the Wolverines' trouble
spots this season. After all, it's not easy
to replace the NCAA's all-time
winningest goalie.
That's when he thought of Liut.
The Michigan goalies' inexperi-
ence made a goaltending coach a ne-
cessity. With his practical training
and skills, Liut was a clear choice to
satisfy this need.
"Here's a guy that's been there,"
Berenson said. "He knows what the
expectations are in college hockey, so
he's a perfect guy for this scenario."
Berenson knew Liut from the days
when the current Wolverine coach
directed the St. Louis Blues of the
NHL and Liut was one of his players.
In 1980, Liut broke into the league
with the Blues. He spent the next four
seasons in St. Louis (1980-84) before
moving on to Hartford (1984-90) and
finally Washington (1990-92) where
he ended his career. In 13 seasons,
Liut compiled a 293-271-74 record
with 25 shutouts and a 3.49 goals
against average.
In the 1980-81 season, Berenson
led the team to a45-18-17 record -the
best in the club's 28-year history. That
year, Berenson was named NHL Coach
of the Year, and the coach has fond
memories of Liut during that span.
"He was often the difference in the
game,"',Berenson said. "He was one of
the best goalies in the NHL, and he
made the difference in our team being
an average team or a great team."
While he might be a newcomer to
the Michigan program, Liut is not
new to the CCHA. Before entering
the professional ranks, Liut was a
standout player between the pipes for
Bowling Green. In his senior season
with the Falcons, Liut was named the
1976-77 CCHA Player of the Year.
Following that banner season, he
moved on to become one of the most

successful CCHA players to play pro-
Right now, Liut's primary tasks
involve getting freshman Marty Turco
acclimated to the college game and
getting senior Al Loges more geared
up when he gets into the games,
whether it's starting or coming in
later in the contest.
Berenson sees how Liut is more
capable of handling these adjustment
problems than any other goal coach.
"He can understand a goalie's prob-
lems," Berenson said. "Whether it's
(Al) Loges or Marty (Turco) or any
goalie, with Mike Liut it has probably
happened to him so he can relate to
those things, whereas maybe another
coach who hasn't been a goalie can't
relate to it like a goalie can.
"He adds an-
other element of
credibility to our
program. We
would tell Shields
something and
Shields would
look at us like 'I
' don't think I can
:.. do that' or 'I don't
Liut think goalies do
that.' Well, when
Mike Liut says that, nobody says 'I
don't think goalies do that."
Liut viewed the coaching position
as a good chance for him to return to
the collegiate level.
"I looked at it as an opportunity to
bring something backanddonate some-
thing to the game, college hockey and
the CCHA," he said. "It really provided
me with so very much. As much noto-
riety as I had from being a player pro-
fessionally, I had at least as much noto-
riety from being a college graduate."
Early this season, Turco and Loges
alternated starts, but ever since Turco
was in goal for Michigan's thrilling
5-4 win over Colorado College Oct.
22, the freshman has been the No. 1
Liut attributes Turco's success to
the fact that he has been actively play-
ing in games in recent years, while
Loges has rarely gotten off the bench in
his role as a backup to both of lastyear's
seniors, Shields and Chris Gordon.
"Al has gotten into a practice rut
because of the players that played
ahead of him," Liut said. "He's still
working out of that and trying to get
into a game-mode. I'd like to get him

The Michigan hockey team faces Michigan State tonight at Yost Ice Arena before travelling to Bowling Green tomorrow.

more active in his movement in the
net and get more of a flow and a
rhythm to his game."
Turco, on the other hand, has
stepped right in and adjusted to the
faster college game rather well. Col-
lege hockey differs from other level#
of play in that the center red line is not
in play, thereby preventing two-line
offsides penalties and speeding up
the pace of the game. Nevertheless,
Turco has won five straight contests,
including last Saturday's 4-2 win over
Lake Superior State.
"With Marty (my role) is more help-
ing him make the transition from Jun-
ior B Hockey to the speed of an olde
game with better players and a game
that does not have the red line," Liut
said. "It's a more explosive game and
he's (made the transition) quite well."
Some of Liut's time is also spent in
the current NHL negotiations between
players and owners. In his playing days,
Liut was involved with the NHL
Player's Association. He is presently
working with the union in its attempt to
resolve the conflict that has prevente*
the start of the 1994-95 season.
While Liut admits that his role in
the negotiations is small, he is cur-
rently attending the Detroit College
of Law with the hopes of extending
his role within the NHLPA.
Not surprisingly, Liut holds strong
views on one of the main causes of
the lockout.
"The salary cap has the possibil-
ity of doing a lot of things," Liut said
"It could eliminate older players in
lieu of cheaper, less experienced tal-
ent. Whenever you start to use an
artificial restraint system, you start
making decisions not based on hockey
talent, but solely on the economics."
With all of these commitments,
Liut is usually only able to attend one
or two Wolverine practices per week.
Nevertheless, both goalies thoroughio
appreciate the presence of the vet-
eran goaltender.
"He's a great guy, and he's really
fun to have around," Turco said. "It's
great to have him here and he's taught
me a lot of things."
'"A lot of times, you have goalie
coaches come in that have never
played professionally or played col-
lege hockey," Loges added. "Mik
has done both and been successful a
both levels, so whatever he says is
basically written in stone."

Continued from page 1
Michigan State's prolific offense is
one of two reasons the Spartans are
off to their best start since an 8-0,
beginning in 1986-87.
The other is the presence of the
league's top-rated goalie between the
"Our goaltender, Mike Buzak, has
been extremely effective this season,"
Spartan coach Ron Mason said. "He
has helped make up for our sloppy
play at times."
The word "effective" only mod-
estly describes Buzak's work in goal
thus far. "Stingy" might be a better
Prior to Wednesday's game,
Buzak, another Hobey Baker candi-
date, had allowed a paltry six goals in
four games and 245 minutes of ac-
tion. He had made 130 saves in post-
ing a 3-0-1 record.
"Buzak doesn't give up many

chances," Berenson said. "But when
you do get them, you need to take
advantage of them."
While Michigan State can light up
the scoreboard, the Wolverines are
hardly diced onions when it comes to
putting the puck in the net.
Like the Spartans, Michigan is led
by a couple of Hobey Baker candi-
dates - right wing Mike Knuble and
center Brendan Morrison.
Knuble, the nation's leaderin power
play goals a year ago, returned from a
chest infection last weekend in the Wol-
verines' sweep of Ohio State and Lake
Superior State. Morrison is Michigan's
quarterback and tied for third on the
team in scoring (3-7-10).
The Wolverine offensive attack,
however, is hardly a two-man band.
Right wing Jason Botterill leads
Michigan in scoring (5-7-12) and is
the reigning CCHA Offensive Player
of the Week thanks to his three-goal,
two-assist performance last Friday
against Ohio State.

Robb Gordon (4-7-11), Bill
Muckalt (5-5-10) and Kevin Hilton
(4-6--10) add to Michigan's depth
and firepower.
In this evenly-matched contest,
the fact that the game is at Yost could
make a difference. Mason, however,
thought that this would play about as
big a role in the outcome as who
would make the O.J. Simpson jury.
"It's noisy, but it's a big rink and I
think our team plays well on big rinks,"
Mason said. "It's not like playing at
Bowling Green where you have a smaller
crowd, but a difficult, small rink."
Michigan faces this exact predica-
ment when the Wolverines meet the
Falcons (5-1-0, 7-2-0) at the 5,000-
seat BGSU Arena tomorrow.
The Falcons' Brian Holzinger is
the CCHA's leader in scoring, both in
league games (5-8-13) and overall
games (7-12-19).
"A real key in the contest will be
poise," first year coach Buddy Pow-
ers said.


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