The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 12, 1999 - 38
Home Sweet Hobey
Hobey Baker Award winner Brendan Morrison reflects on college days, NHL
Few players, if any, have brought the fans at Yost Ice Arena to their feet the way
n4 n Morrison did during his four years at the University In fact, when he grad-
1997, there wasn't much left for him to accomplish in the maize and blue jer-
In*yidually, Morrison took home the 1997 Hobey Baker Memorial Trophy as the
nati's top collegiate hockey player; and left the University as the Michigan's all-time 4
point and assist leader Yet above all of the individual accolades, Morrison was an
ideal team leader who not only paced the Wolverines through the 1997 National Y
Championship season, but also put home the overtime game winner in the champi-
ohs/ttp game over Colorado College.
Now a member of the NHL's New Jersey Devils, Morrison sat down with the 4'
Michigan Daily's Jordan Field to talk about the college experience, Red Berenson,
and yes, capping off the National Championship season by running the naked mile.
rhe Michigan Daily: Only two
years out of Michigan, do you still feel
close to the University?
Morrison: Definitely. I still keep in
close contact with everyone there. We
had practice the other day here in
Detroit, and afterwards I went out to
Ann Arbor and watched the end of the
Wolverines' practice at Yost. It was
good to see all those guys.
*TMD: You're having a great rookie
season. How do you feel that your
biggest competition for rookie of the
year is coming from (former Michigan
teammate) Bill Muckalt in Vancouver?
1M: It's kind of neat, you know.
Billy's having a really great year, I like
watehing him play, and I check out his
boxscores every morning. I really don't
thiik about rookie of the year that
much, but if it did come down to the
two of us at the end of the year, that
*iid be unbelievable.
TMD: Is the fact that both of you
are hiving such great rookie seasons
just a testament to Coach Berenson and
the program he has created at
JIM: I think so. If you look at the
guy% making the jump from Michigan
to the pros they are not only getting
mnlhUtes, but they are also having an
d on their teams and in the league.
d'hat's a big thing. Red should be
veiy'yroud of what he has established
at Michigan. I definitely credit him
with much of the success I am now
hav'in' in this league.
*TMD: What is the biggest difference
betwen playing in front of the crowd
atYo'st Ice Arena and playing in front
of an NHL crowd?
BM: Oh man, it's night and day, you
really can't even compare the two.
ere is no comparison to skating out
to te 6,000 screaming fans with the
band playing the fight song in the back-
ground. NHL crowds are much bigger
an&iome are loud, but you just can't
beat'the atmosphere generated in Yost.
TMD: Did you have a favorite cheer
BM: Well, I guess the one I enjoyed
the most was the Michigan fight song.
All the other cheers were good, but
skating onto the ice hearing 'Hail to the
Victors' when the crowd was going
crazy brings back good memories.
TMD: What do you miss most about
the life of a college student-athlete?
BM: Just the camraderie. Being with
your teammates, especially on a social
level is so different than it is in the
NHL. There really aren't too many
guys on this team that are my age, so
compared to college where everyone is
only a few years apart, it's very differ-
TMD: So, is it fair to say that it's
more difficult to make friends at the
professional level as opposed to college
because of that age gap and also lan-
guage barriers in some cases?
BM: Yeah, it's definitely a lot differ-
ent from college hockey in that sense.
In college you can make friends any-
where you go, but here everyone is
playing hockey as their job. I'm only
22, but there are guys on the team that
have wives and families, and after prac-
tice they don't really hang out or go out
together. Instead they go home to be
their families. In college we always
hung out after games or practices, so in
that way, yeah, it is harder to get to
know your teammates and make friends
outside of the rink.
TMD: When you were in school
what were your favorite places to hang
out in Ann Arbor?
BM: Cottage Inn and Rick's for sure.
Both those places were always real hot
spots for all the hockey players.
TMD: Having gone to college, you
arrived in the NHL in a much different
manner thap many of your teammates
who played their way up through
juniors. Do guys ask you about college,
and the types of experiences you had
playing hockey for a university?
Brendan Morrison has taken to the NHL well, as he Is battling with fellow alum Bill
Muckalt, among others, for the league's rookie of the year honor.
BM: Yeah, we all like to exchange
stories. After telling them about what
college was like for me, I've heard a lot
of guys say, "Jeez, if I knew college
would have been like that, maybe I
would have gone the college route."
TMD: Was it a difficult decision for
you to stay at Michigan for your senior
year, rather than leave early to come to
BM: No, it wasn't difficult at all. I
felt I was still developing as a player,
and besides, I went to Michigan to get
my degree and education. I wasn't
going to leave without it.
TMD: Looking back on all of your
years playing hockey, can you say that
the overtime goal against Colorado
College to win the NCAA title was the
biggest goal of your life?
BM: I guess personally, yeah, that
was a big thrill. But the important part
of scoring that goal was that we won
the title together as a team, and all
worked so hard and sacrificed so much
throughout the whole season.
TMD: Aside from that goal and the
national championship, your last year at
Michigan, you were also honored with
the Hobey Baker award as the nation's
best collegiate hockey player. Did that
change the way you were treated on
campus, or were you still able to main-
tain a low profile in class and when
you went out?
BM: Well, I think the first couple of
years at Michigan I wasn't that big and
really no one knew who I was. But the
last couple years I did start to get a lot
more attention because the team was
doing so well.
The attention started to pick up, but
it wasn't the case where people would
come up and ask for autographs in
class or at the bar, but sure, people
would recognize me and come over to
shake my hand or say 'good game' or
something like that.
TMD: So you stayed your senior
year for an education, but also left with
a pretty good memory.
BM: My whole class, the nine
seniors on the hockey team did it
together. We lined up in a row, and off
we went wearing our helmets and noth-
-For questions or suggestions reganr-
ing future or past Q&A &you can reach
the Michigan Daily ' Jordan Field at
How tough can it be?" I often
used to wonder, looking up at
the press box. "They watch
the game, they eat some free food, they
write a quick story - they get paid for
"There must be more to it,"' I
thought. "It can't be as easy as it looks."
(Yes it can.) "That must be a great,
great job," I used to think.
A few years ago, before I reached
college, I was sitting in the stands for
the now-infamous Michigan-Colorado
football game - the one that ended
with the impossible Hail Mary.
I can remember with absolute clari-
ty the crowd's reaction to the final,
amazing play that ended the game in a
loss for Michigan. Nobody even
breathed for a few seconds - not even
the obnoxious, flag-waving Colorado
fan who had been scream-
ing all game, two rows / A~
behind me. It was too
impossible to believe. It S@P
was as close to absolute PO
silence as 100,000 people embai
will ever be. ano
My friend and I stood colle
there in the stands for a to pro
good 10 minutes, not I nom
knowing what to do. We AM t
barely even moved. We just
looked at each other, open- ab
mouthed, and blinked. -------
And now, years later, I still love
thinking back on that game, outcome
and all, because of what happened
afterward: nothing. Just disbelief. I had
all the time in the world to sit there,
incredulous, and let it sink in. And
that's exactly what I did.
I don't imagine the people in the
press box had the same luxury. In fact, I
know they didn't.
Some people - the truly great jour-
nalists, I guess - would probably have
loved that post-game crush of frenzied
energy. Not me. I needed a few minutes
to sit and collect my thoughts.
For some people, some truly lucky
people, journalism is the epitome of that
rare blessing: a fun job. I have close
friends who fall into this category, and I
can't tell you how much I envy them. I
wish I loved it as much as they do.
But at some point, for me, an awful
thing started to happen: The sports
stopped being about fun, and theystart-
ed being about work.
I started to notice, more and more
acutely, the things I disliked about jour-
nalism. I hated the hours. I hated the
numbingly predictable press confer-
ences. I hated the uncooperative com-
I hated, more than anything else, the
There's a machismo, in journalism,
associated with being critical in print.
It's like a sign of toughness. Read the
papers, it's no big secret. Write some-
thing critical, people react to it. It sells.
It's the same phenomenon that shapes
those talk-radio shows that everyone
seems to love. It doesn't matter if you're
right or wrong, or even if you believe
what you're saying. Nine times out of
ten, criticizing someone is the best way
Fn~ once again
to cause a stir - especially if it's some-
one important. People build careers on
that premise. And it makes me sick.
That's not to say there isn't a place
for criticism. When Red Berenson
shrugged off the ridiculous hockey tick-
et price increase this fall, he deserved to
be criticized. When Marcus Ray tele-
phoned an agent for help with a hotel
bill, he deserved to be criticized (and
probably should have been kicked off
the team, too, as a senior co-captain).
In some cases, the press has an
obligation to be critical. But it's another
thing to be critical because it gets you
noticed. Or because it shows you're
"willing to face the issues" That kind
of criticism doesn't prove anything - it
just inflates egos and makes people
loathe the media. With good reason.
I have no problem admitting that I
tend to shy away from being critical in
print, especially since
Sdon'rt we're talking about college
sports. We're not debating
Sthe foreign policy in these
nt Of pages. We're not even dis-
TSSIng cussing regents' meetings. -
Wier We're talking about an
ge kid interception on third-and
Ve that 15. We're dissecting free
W What throw shooting. It's almost
comical, when you stop
and think about it.
OU Thisisn't life and
--------- death - it's sports. It's
supposed to be a diversion. It's sup-
posed to be fun. I just don't see the
point of embarrassing another college
kid to prove that I know what I'm talk-
ing about. It doesn't seem right to me.
But that attitude is frowned upon in
journalism. It's like a sign of weakness.
It's why I would never make it as a
journalist. And at the same time, it's
why I would never want to.
Newspapers - even small, student
newspapers run by volunteers - have
an enormous amount of power, an often
disproportionate amount of power.
Believe me, if I wanted to embarrass
someone in print, I could easily do it
(remember that, Michigan Review kids).
I'd rather highlight the positive. In a
community of 35,000 students, there
ought to be enough good things going
on that I can avoid being negative
week-in and week-out. It might be a
naive way of seeing things, but I dis-
covered a while ago that it was the only
way I could keep having fun while writ-
ing. I guess I'd rather be naive and
enjoy it, than worldly and hate it.
But now, with all that behind me,
I'm looking forward to getting out of
the press box and back into the stands,
for good. I'm looking forward to sitting
in the bleachers and taking in a game at
leisure - no deadlines, no bylines, no
annoying post-game press conference
lines. I'm looking forward to watching
the games, and not rushing to analyze
them after they're over.
It's been fun. But it's been enough.
I'm looking forward to once again
being a fan. Thanks for reading.
- This is Jim Rose'sfinal column,
for The Michigan Daily
or any other newspaper
E-mail him firstname.lastname@example.org.
Little things lead to victory for Blue women
Daffy Sports Writer
It's the little things that count. The
split-second hesitation after the starting
gun, how tightly tied both shoelaces are,
the direction the wind blows the orange
dust clouds from the track. The little
things make all the difference.
This past weekend, all the little things
amounted to a Michigan victory in the
San Diego Quad over San Diego State,
hington and New Mexico. The
Iverines took first place with an over-
all score of 197, just barely surpassing
Washington's overall score of 196.
One whole point.
"The team that wanted it more was
going to win," freshman Tasha Phillips
said. "And we wanted it more"'
Michigan and Washington were
painfully close throughout the meet. The
Wolverines placed first in six events, the
hskies won eight. But Washington
'ced second in only three events,
directly behind Michigan in two.
Five of the Wolverines' nine second
place finishes were behind the Huskies.
"We did a really great job," freshman
Erin Massengale said. "We didn't have
our regular crew, but we kept fighting
that much more. We didn't give in"
The Wolverines were without top
scoring juniors Maria Brown, Olive
Ikeh, Tiffany Hodge and Julie Froud
who were resting for this weekend's
Michigan junior distance runner
Elizabeth Kampfe ran the 5,000 meters
in 17:00.30, coming in second behind
Washington's Anna Aoki by seven and a
Senior Nikki Keith threw 43-4 1/2
in the shotput, coming up short to
Washington's Sesila Thomas by 5-7 1/4.
Massengale heaved 145-2 in the dis-
cus throw, coming behind Washington's
Cecilia Barnes by 18-8.
Junior hammer thrower Julie Presley
threw 153 feet, 15-4 shorter than
Washington's Rebecca Morrison.
In the 4x400 relay, Michigan just
missed first place with 3:46.39,2.04 sec-
onds behind Washington.
But the Wolverines dominated in the
4x100 relay, coming in first with 46.31
seconds while San Diego settled for sec-
Senior Nicole Forrester also overpow-
ered the competition, picking up four
more inches than Washington's Fran
Richardson, jumping 5-8 in the high
Senior Katie McGregor took a huge
first place in the 1,500, coming in 10
seconds ahead of Washington's Deeja
Youngquist. McGregor and sophomore
Katie Clifford then dominated the 3,000
meter run, taking both first and second
Michigan senior Angie Stanifer and
junior Lisa Ouellet took .both first and
second place respectively in the 800
Junior Brandi Bentley leaped 20-4 1/2
in the long jump, coming in first over
San Diego's Lisa Domico by and one
The four teams will be competing
against each other again this upcoming
weekend at the Mount SAC relays in
"The hard work is paying off," Phillips
said. "We need winning competition to
keep our confidence up in the Big Ten."
It was a close meet. Both Michigan
and Washington showed their strength.
Michigan was able to pull out ahead and
One whole point. That's all it took.