The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday -December 1, 1997-3B
Former Michigan hockey
up the Wolverines progran
For many students, the big names fivm
Michigan hockey tend to be the likes of
ndan Morrison, Jason Botterill and
John Madden. Those were the leaders of
'We Michigan team that won the CCHA
and NCAA championships just two years x
~go. But one year before that team,
Michigan also had a great season that
tends to be forgotten in the shadow of the
NCAA title. That year, senior Mike
nuble led the Wolverines to a 22-4-
season, capturing the CCHA title. g
Knuble led the team in goals, netting 38
scores in only 34 games.
After his four years at Michigan,
Knuble has moved on. And even though
he hasn't moved too far away from Anns
Arbor, his game has come a long way. Hew
is now in his rookie season in the NHL
with the Detroit Red Wings. Last year; as
the Wings won the Stanley Cup, Knuble
fent most of the year at the Wingsfarm
system in Adirondack, missing his second
championship by one year But you won't
hear any complaints from Knuble. He is
o working hard and proud to be where he
is today - still in metro Detroit.
The Daily's Jordan Field recently
spoke with Knuble about making it to the
NHL, the fans at Yost Ice Arena and his
days as a student athlete. K: I'm definitely goi
DAILY: I know that most of the guys on of the younger guys do
his team, and in the NHL for that matter, year to see a game at Yo
idn't go the college route that you took here would be really
k to reach this league. What do you tell game and see what it's
your teammates about your college expe- really highly of the gar
rience at U of M? and they'd be intereste
KNUBLE: They like to hear bits and still think they'd be in fo
pieces about stuff. About the football they really see what it's
games, just about life in college, like screaming swear word
about the parties and stuff like that. They playing, it's a whole ot
are all interested now in Michigan foot- stadium.
ball, because I make them watch the D: What are you be
ames. I know when Aaron (Ward) and I student-athlete at U ofN
ook the cup to Michigan Stadium some K: Well, we only pla
of the guys saw that on TV, so it's nice to a week during the seaso
tell them about my experiences and to let best memories come f
them know what it was like taking class- out with the guys that
es and playing hockey for a top messing around in the
University. stuff like that. I still ta
D: It sounds like you've made some of once or twice a week.
your teammates here Michigan fans. Is life-long friends and h
that true? other's weddings.
K: For sure. When Michigan wins D: How did you ben
everyone will congratulate me and peo- ing college to play ho
*le here will be pulling for my old teams playing juniors?
too. But if they lose, then the guys are all K: As far as hocke
over me asking questions like, 'what's really the best way for
going on with your team?' Especially bloomer, and not really
how the University has been in the media anything, so I needed th
recently in kind of a negative light for the Had I gone to juniors
allegations with the basketball program, may not have had the
everyone was bugging me and asking me have finished my care
about it. was 20. But at 20, I w
D: What do you tell everyone about year of college and si
he fans at Yost? develop in a great envir
player Mike Knuble talks about building
n and playing for a Stanley Cup champion
ng to bring some
own with me this
st. I think people
excited to see a
all about. I speak
mes at Michigan,
d to see it. But I
r a surprise when
all about. People
ds and the band
her world in that
st memories as a
yed maybe twice
n, so most of my
rom the hanging
I lived with. Just
house, and stupid
lk to those guys
We really made
ave gone to each
efit from attend-
ckey rather than
y went, that was
me. I was a late
a high recruit or
e work on the ice.
or something, I
time, and could
er by the time I
as in my second
till had time to
onment. The way
Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson
runs things I had great opportunities to
improve on the ice and as a person. We
had tough conditioning and off season
stuff, he wanted us to be champions and
work hard like champions. Aside from
hockey, I came to college so naive, I did-
n't know anything. I was scared, but I
came a long way being a student and
grew a lot, especially socially. Michigan
is a big school, and I really learned a lot.
I wish I could do it again knowing what
I know now.
D: How has it benefited you to not
only stay in the metro Detroit area after
graduation, but to also have former
Wolverine teammate, Aaron Ward, play-
ing with you here on the Wings?
K: Boy, it really is a small world. For
all the teams we could have played for, I
never would have thought we would be
together again. We played together a lot
even before Michigan. I played with him
in the minors, then Michigan and now
here. It's almost like he's my brother. It's
almost like he's a part of the family. It's
great playing with him and it would be
really weird to play against him ever.
And it is nice to stay here in Michigan.
It's almost like I'm sheltered here.
Growing up part of my life here, playing
at Michigan and playing for the Wings,
it's kind of a corny story, but it's been
great and lucky for me. I couldn't imag-
ine playing any place else. I went to a top
college program and now a top profes-
sional organization all in the same area.
I've really been lucky.
D: Do you still feel ties to Red
Berenson and your former teammates at
K: Sure. I still see those guys, or speak
to Red or the other coaches. But it's hard
to stay in contact with that many people.
I wish I could, but people are very busy.
I'll watch for people in the paper, and
look up their stats. or if I play against
people, I'll always meet with them after
the game to catch up on each other's
lives. It's nice to ahvavs have that bond of
the old memories together. Sometimes
I'll go visit Red just to say 'hi' and he'll
start talking hockey and picking apart
my game. That's just the kind of guy Red
is, he loves hockey. But he and I got
along real well. He pushed me to work
hard and always kept an eye out for us.
D: The year after you graduated,
Michigan hockey won the NCAA title,
and last year you spent most of the sea-
son with (the Red Wings farm system
team in) Adirondack while the Red
Wings won the Stanley Cup. Just a case
of bad luck, missing two championship
by one year?
K: Well, I certainly would have liked
to be in this position with the team last
season. But, I guess it is just missing out
on being in the right place at the right
time. It took me a little while there in the
minors to really be ready for this level,
and unfortunately I was just one year
behind. But things worked out in the end
and I worked my way up here. Things are
going well now, so even though I missed
out on the Cup, I really have no com-
plaints. At Michigan it was just to bad we
couldn't win it while I was there, because
we were so close. I knew it was just a
matter of time for that team. I was sorry
to miss out on it, but I just couldn't have
been happier for everyone there. It was
big for the program because we were
right there on the edge for so many years
and then we finally crossed over.
D: You were in a small group of peo-
ple whose names were left off the
Stanley Cup last year. Was that a major
disappointment for you?
K: Well, it was pretty expected. I
knew I didn't make the qualifications to
be on the cup. Sure I really do wish my
name could be on the Stanley Cup with
everyone else, because that is something
you can really be proud of, but I under-
stand. Now I just need to come up with a
good story why I have the ring, but my
name's not on the cup. I guess it's extra
incentive to want it this year. Everyone
else in this lockerroom would love to
repeat, but that's something I have over
the other guys.
Out of Bounds
Huskers just keep look/ig
worse, ndother ,4thoughts
n this crazy season of college football where Notre Dame loses more often than
Purdue, and Washington State gets a Rose Bowl invitation for the first time in more
than 60 years, Michigan has some thank yous to pass around. The Wolverines are
already indebted to Missouri for taking previously top-ranked Nebraska to overtime
before succumbing to the Cornhuskers.
Add to that list the Florida Gators who dished Florida State its first loss of the sea-
son two Saturday's ago; and the Colorado Butfaloes, who nearly pulled off one of the
greatest comebacks since Kordell Stewart stepped into Michigan Stadium.
Alas, Nebraska remains unbeaten, and even though the Wolverines' lead in the USA
Today/ESPN coaches' poll is widening with every Nebraska turnover, there will sure-
ly be hell to pay if both the Wolverines and Cornhuskers finish the season undefeated.
In that case, add Michigan State to Michigan's thank you list for beating then-No.
4 Penn State and Vanderbilt for almost doing the same to No. 3 Tennessee. No offense
to the Nittany Lions and Volunteers, but neither stands a chance against Nebraska in
the Orange Bowl.
The Seminoles are the best bet to knock off Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. So, if
Auburn beats the Volunteers in the SEC championship game on Saturday, Florida
State will be heading to Miami. Might as well address another one of those thank you
cards to Terry Bowden.
Of course considering Nebraska has performed so poorly the past few weeks, it is
not out of the realm of possibility for Texas A & M to upset the Cornhuskers in the
Big 12 championship game. Okay, better buy one more thark you card for the Aggies
just in case.
And, why, pray tell, should we thank Vanderbilt. Not only did the Commodores
bring Tennessee down to Earth, they also rattled Peyton Manning almost as much as
Florida did, diminishing his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy.
Michigan All-everything Charles Woodson will be announced as the Walter Camp
College Football Player of the Year at a press conference in Schembechler Hall today,
and a poll of ESPN Sportszone readers has Woodson as the favorite to win the
Manning still may win it, but Woodson is looking better every Saturday, even when
he isn't playing.
Will coach for money
After taking the Longhorns to bowl games in every season but his first in Austin,
John Makovic was fired as Texas' coach a day after losing to Texas A & M. Likewise,
Arkansas let go of Danny Ford after an uneventful season in Little Rock.
In this day of parity in college football, losing seasons at large schools simply are
not tolerated, thanks in part to the recent success of Northwestern, Kansas State and
Washington State. That prompted Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and Illinois to give their
coaches the ax last season, which has paid dividends to the Boilermakers, whose new
head man, Joe Tiller, has Purdue, at 8-3, in the Alamo Bowl but deserving better.
Spartans say Aloha
It may sound stupid, but when Michigan State and Penn State play, you can throw
the records out the window. The Spartans whipped the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions,
49-14, in Spartan Stadium in what has been a long-anticipated victory. The Spartans,
at 7-4 and Aloha Bowl bound, are actually a better team than they are given credit.
Remember, the Spartans are just two field goals away from being 9-2.
Historically, Michigan State has played its best game of the season against Penn
State for the last four years, but has lost each time before Saturday's victory. The worst
letdown was a 20-point Spartan lead that was erased by four Bobby Engram touch-
down receptions in 1993.
Michigan State was a big reason the Nittany Lions decided to join the Big Ten,
when former Spartan coach George Perles and Penn State coach Joe Patemo agreed
to face off to end every season. Paterno, whose Nittany Lions lost out on an Alliance
Bowl bid with the loss, might be rethinking that decision.
--John Leroi can be reached via e-mail email@example.com.
EAST LANSING (AP) -
ronzaga coach Dan Monson wasn't
surprised that it was a putback at the
buzzer by Michigan State's Jason
Klein that beat his team in the cham-
pionship game of the Spartan Classic.
"It was an unfortunate basket to
ose on, but it was probably poetic
justice that it would end on a
,rebound," Monson said Saturday after
the host Spartans pulled out a 70-68
,,Gonzaga's Bakari Hendrix blocked
,Mateen Cleaves driving layup, but
the ball went to Klein, who laid it in
from the left side of the basket.
"The ball went through a couple of
hands and I just scooped it and it
vent in," Klein said.
It was the first loss of the season
for Gonzaga (5-1), which won the
T6p of the World tournament last
Sunday with a victory over No. 5
Freshman Andre Hutson led
Michigan State (3-1) with a season-
.high 13 points. David Thomas,
Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Klein
each scored 10 points.
Cleaves had a career-high I1
assists, while Thomas grabbed 10
rebounds to help the Spartans gain a
41-22 edge on the boards.
"The biggest key to the game was
giving them so many extra opportuni-
ties," Monson said. "They're so
quick to the ball and stronger than we
are and they made all the plays."