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February 06, 1995 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-06

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, February 6, 1995 - 7

Continured from page 1
"I didn't take any blow-off
courses and was able to meet NCAA
Actually, Michigan was fortunate
to sign Botterill.
"It was kind of weird because
none of the schools knew I was com-
ing out early," he says. "So I only
told a couple of the schools I was
interested in - Boston and Harvard.
Initially, I didn't know if Michigan
was interested in me."
Botterill wasn't highly recruited
by the Wolverines because they
thought he was still a junior. That's
when an unlikely recruiter stepped
into the picture - St. Louis Blues
coach Mike Keenan.
When Keenan was the coach of
the New York Rangers, Botterill's
father, Cal, was theteam'spsycholo-
gist. Keenan, therefore, kept an eye
on the young Botterill. When he heard
Jason was graduating early, he alerted
a good friend of his - Michigan
head coach Red Berenson.
"I got a call from Keenan and he
asked me if we were interested in
Jason," Berenson says. "I said that I
didn't know because the last we heard
he was still ajunior. We checked into
it to see if he was a senior (with
credits) and could legally be re-
When the Michigan found out
that Botterill was indeed graduating
early, the coaching staff was all over
him. Wolverine assistant Billy Pow-
ers took a recruiting trip to Concord
in early 1993 to get a look at Botterill.
He immediately felt that Botterill
could fit into the Michigan program.
"In the three games I saw, he had
four or five goals and was a dominant
player," Powers says. "It was pretty
easy to identify him as a top pros-
If Powers had one initial concern
about Botterill, it was his age. After
all, Powers was recruiting a player
who had only received his driver's
license the previous August. It took
all of about 60 seconds for Botterill
to alleviate Powers' concerns.
"At the time, I really didn't know
what to expect from someone that
young," Powers says. "But within
about a minute, I felt like I wasn't
talking to a 16-year-old. His matu-
rity in all areas made it seem like I
was talking to someone who was a
freshman, or maybe even older."
One visit was all it took -
Botterill was sold. The Wolverines

offered him a scholarship on the trip
and he went home and accepted it a
couple of days later. "I really liked the
mix of academics and athletics at
Michigan," Botterill says. "I've never
regretted my decision at all."
While the Wolverines were
pleased to find that Botterill was a
mature 16-year old, they weren't re-
cruiting the left wing to be a recep-
tionist in Schembechler Hall. They
thought he fit into the Michigan pro-
gram because of the type of player he
"Jason is an in-your-face com-
petitor on the ice," Berenson says.
"You're not going to like playing
against him but you love having him
on your team."
Botterill showed his All-Rookie
form early. In preseason workouts,
Berenson tinkered with the line com-
binations and finally settled on a top
line of senior captain Brian Wiseman
at center, senior David Oliver at right
wing and Botterill at left wing.
"I was extremely nervous about
playing with Oliver and Wiseman,"
Botterill says. "They were probably
the two best players on the team."
They weren't only the two best
players on last year's squad, they are
also two of the best players in school
history. Wiseman and Oliver both
made first-team All-America a year
ago and finished their careers second
and eighth, respectively, on
Michigan's all-time points list.
In the third game of the season at
Bowling Green, it was the 17-year-
old rookie who was the star. Botterill
notched his first career hat trick in the
5-5 tie.
"That really took a lot of pressure
off me," Botterill says. "It was a huge
deal for me to play on a line that had
two future All-Americans. I never
really knew coming in what was go-
ing to happen and for me to have a
game like that so quickly washreally
In his 17-plus months at Michi-
gan, Botterill has established himself
as a player who thrives on intensity
and motivation. If he gets caught up
in the game and loses his mental edge,
he might as well be on the bench.
When Botterill uses his weight and
strength to his advantage, he's about
as easy to move out of the slot as a
stalled dump truck.
"When he's not taking the body
and kind of being a (jerk) out there, he
doesn't play as well," Michigan
defenseman Blake Sloan says. "But
when he's throwing his weight around
and working behind the net on the

Name: Jason Botterill
Team: Hockey
Position: Forward
Year: Sophomore
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 209
power play, he's hard to get a handle
"There aren't many guys out there
that can control him when he's in
front of the net."
He also has a knack for getting
into scuffles and leads Michigan in a
dubious category -penalty minutes.
In 22 games this season, Botterill has
been called for 32 penalties and aver-
ages over three-and-a-half minutes
per contest in the sin bin. He was even
tossed out of a game after yelling one
too many expletives at a referee
against Miami (Ohio) Noy. 18.
"I've got to admit that in certain
situations, I've kind of lost it,"
Botterill says. "My self control is
something I need to work on and
While Botterill knows his penal-
ties can be cut down, he doesn't make
any excuses for his style of play. "It's
the way I know how to play hockey,"
he says. "If a certain teammate of
mine is being taken advantage of, I
have the size to take care of the situ-
Ferris State coach Bob Daniels
said that even though Botterill some-
times loses it on the ice, it doesn't
reflect on his game.
"I thinkahe's an aggressive player,
but not in a negative sense," Daniels
said. "When aggressive players meet
aggressive players out there, things
tend to spill over."
But Botterill is no goon.
"He knows the game and sees the
ice really well," Berenson says. "He
maybe doesn't have the big shot that
guys like Oliver and (Mike) Knuble
have, but he has a heavy shot and is a
deceptive scorer."
This season, however, has hardly
been as sweet as cherry pie for
In December, Botterill was named
to the Canadian world junior team for
the second straight year. But even that
honor had its drawbacks. "With the
world juniors and Canada going the
distance, he didn't get a break," Pow-
ers says. "He didn't have the chance
to get away from the ice."
At the beginning of the second
half of the season, Botterill injured
his back in the Team Canada game

Jan. 7. This was just the start of bad
things to come. In fact, the second
half of the season has made Botterill
sick - literally.
"Ever since coming back from
world juniors, it seems like I've got
the flu every other day," Botterill
says. He was indeed saddled with it
for the Jan. 13-14 series at Lake State.
He played anyway and scored one
goal in the two games.
After he finally recovered from
the flu, he hurt his left wrist Jan. 21
against Notre Dame. He played with
a cast against Western Michigan
and Illinois-Chicago Feb. 24-25 but
went scoreless for the weekend.
Botterill did not dress for this
weekend's games against Western
Michigan and Michigan State. The
coaching staff decided to keep him
out in hopes that the strained liga-
ment in his wrist would heal. He is
expected back early this week.
"He's struggling with the puck
and it's getting a little frustrating
for him," Powers says. "This was a
chance to get him off the ice for a
couple of days."
Botterill also found a positive in
the difficult situation. "Maybe this
wrist injury is a blessing in dis-
guise," he says. "It will give me a
little break before getting back out
. , *
Last summer, the Dallas Stars
selected Botterill with the 20th pick
in the first round in the NHL draft.
He was only the fourth player in
Wolverine history to be drafted in
the opening round.
"He's a guy who has a lot of the
qualities necessary to play in the
NHL," Dallas General Manager Les

Jackson says. "We think he's im-
proving his game and moving in the
right direction."
With the selection, a certain ques-
tion about Botterill's future figures
to be asked a lot over the next couple
of years: Will he graduate from
Michigan before moving on to the
"That remains to be seen,"
Doreen says. "Jason's really happy
at Michigan and the Dallas organi-
zation is happy with his develop-
ment at Michigan. They will evalu-
ate it at the end of each year and
decide when the best time is for him
to turn pro."
While the first-round selection
was a thrill for Botterill, he won't
worry about making a decision with

the pros until after the season.
"As for the pro thing right now,
it's great to be drafted in the first
round. I'll talk to them at the end of
the season. But right now my goals
are at Michigan. I feel if I achieve
my personal and team goals at
Michigan, the pro stuff will take
care of itself."
As far as Botterill is concerned,
professional hockey can wait. For
now, he is motivated toward one
He wants to toss his World Jun-
ior ring into the drawer with the
CCHA Champions ring. And he
wants to replace it with another ring.
The one given to the 1995 na-
tional champions.

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Hint: A bed is a need. A Mr. Microphone
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if all you got was soup?
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The University of Michigan
School of Business Administration
invites you to attend
the Inaugural Lecture in
TheJ. Ira Harris
Distinguished Lectureship Series
"The Mandate for the New Congress"
Presented by
The Honorable Jack Kemp
Thursday, February 9, 1995 " 4:30 pm
Clayton G. Hale Auditorium
701 Tappan Street - Corner of Hill and Tappan

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