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February 07, 2001 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Dacily trivia

Two tickers to the Michigan-Michigan State hockey game
'Feb. 17 will go to the two respondents that answer the
t questions correctly. Send answers to
sports.contest@umich.edu
Today's question:
Which CCHA team has the best all-time winning per-
centage in the conference?
Yesterday's answer: Scott Clemmenson
michigandaily.com/sports

2a Skiguu at I
SPORTS

WEDNESDAY
FEBRUARY 7, 2001

9

6mackdown:
lCers need
~role file
By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
An unassuming forward chases the puck
to the boards, with thoughts of breaking out
on an odd-man rush.
But just as he puts his head down -
smack!
An opposing player jars some screws
loose in the forward's head with a huge
body check, knocking him off the puck and
changing the momentum of the game all at
*ce.
Energizing the team with a bone-crush-
ing hit is Michigan forward Jed Ortmeyer's
trademark. But the torn ACL he suffered
Jan. 23 against Notre Dame will keep him
off he ice until next season.
It's not the only redeeming aspect of his
game, as the sophomore is also known for
his timely scoring along with being one of
Michigan's most consistent two-way play-
ers.
But certainly Ortmeyer's workman-like
entality and physical presence is what
ost other teams will remember, especially
the day after.
"For him not being one of the biggest
guys in the league, he's probably one of the
hardest hitters - a lot of teams know that,"
freshman Joe Kautz said. "With him being
gone it's a big loss because he also con-
tributed to power play, penalty kill and
dished out the biggest hits on the team."
Many CCHA teams are realizing that one
the keys to beating Michigan's highly-
skilled team is physically beating them up.
Come playoff time, someone will need to
pick up the slack, along with the smack.
"We have to set the tone," said Michigan
associate head coach Mel Pearson. "We
can't let the other team set the tone. When
we play physical, when we're banging the
bodies and causing teams to make mistakes
- we're much more effective."
Kautz, J.J. Swistak and Dave Wyzgowski
a trio of Michigan forwards that take
ide in putting their bodies on the line for
the team, and enjoy doing it.
"We have that mentality," Kautz said with

Freshmen learning on the job

By Michael Kern "
Daily Sports Editor
At this time of year, it is easy for freshman bas-
ketball players to get worn down by the rigors of the
conference season. Hours of travel, watching film
and battling with some of the nation's best players
can wear on a young player mentally and physical-
ly.
For the Michigan men's basketball team -
which starts two freshmen in its back-
court and goes just eight men deep -r
the risk of fatigue is even greater. BRYcE JORI
Our freshmen "are learning under
high-profile, high-pressure situa- Who Michigi
tions' Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe . Ten, 9-11 ove
said. "It's not like they are playing State (:$, 1
against moderate talent ... They are Latest: M8ch
freshmen having to play heavy min- state College
utes, and that's hard for any fresh- attempt to re
man." another big l:
Bernard Robinson averages 29 min- Wisconsin.
utes a game and Avery Queen aver-
ages 27.2, second and fourth most, respectively,
among Big Ten freshmen.
Combine those minutes with a 3-6 Big Ten
record (9-11 overall) and two straight home losses
and they could start to take their toll on the fresh-
men.
"It's tough because we play a game against one
good player, and then we have to play the next game
against an even better player," Robinson said.
Ellerbe is not the only coach in the Big Ten who
has to worry about players getting worn out. Penn
State (3-6, 13-7), which hosts the Wolverines
tonight at the Bryce Jordan Center, has just six play-
ers on its roster who average over 10 minutes a
game.

DA'
;an
eral
ga
in
oss

Against teams like Michigan State or Illinois; that
can use as many as 10 players without a significant
drop-off in talent, it is extremely difficult for
Ellerbe or Penn State coach Jerry Dunn's playeristo
compete.
"I think depth is a problem for them," Ellerbe
said. "Penn State is like us. They are playing high,
caliber teams. High-caliber teams have seven, eight.
nine, 10 guys who really contribute, and the depth
factor is a key for Jerry's team."
Like Michigan with sophomore
LaVell Blanchard, the Nittany Lions
kN CENTER run their offense through one prgyer
and try to give him as many opportu-
(36 Big nities to score as possible. That player
i) vs. Penn is Big Ten leading scorer Joe Crispin,
7) who averages 20.8 points per game.
n travels to With long-range bombers like Tilus
an Ivory, Crispin and his brother Johbg
und after the center of Penn State's offense is th
s at home to 3-point shot. The Nittany Lions have
attempted 461 3-pointers, second in
the Big Ten to Northwestern, and
trade 169, the most in the conference.
"It goes without saying that you have to focus on
their perimeter" Ellerbe said. "... They have the
ability to make shots over and over, so they are
never out of the basketball game."
The game has major implications in the stand-
ings, as it is the only meeting between the two teams
who are currently tied with Minnesota for eighth in
the Big Ten. For Michigan to make the postseason,
it needs to win its last four home games and one of
its three road games.
"We try and go out and win every game, but we
think this is a must, must win against Penn State,"
Queen said. "We really need this one out of any of
them."

JEFF HURVITZ/Daily
J.J. Swistak is one player the Michigan coaching staff will look at to fill the role once served by
the injured Jed Ortmeyer. Like Ortmeyer, Swistak is known for delievering punishing hits.

a smile. "Some guys enjoy hitting. And I
enjoy hitting and so does J.J. and so does
Ortz. I mean I'd rather make a big hit than
score a goal most of the time."
Kautz only has one goal in his young
career, but that's not uncommon for his
role. The trio has combined for just two
goals and seven points all season.
Pearson admits that Kautz, Swistak and
Wyzgowski were not primarily recruited for
their offensive abilities, but rather for their
"size and physical presence." This can help
them create room in the corners, scoring
chances for teammates and momentum for
their team.
"I just try to get a big hit just to fire
everyone up," said Swistak, who has taken
Ortmeyer's spot on the third line. "Maybe if
we're down or the bench is quiet, I try to go
out there and give some emotion."
In fact, Swistak says that he and Kautz
often talk while on the bench, pushing each
other to make something happen on the ice.
They know that while they don't often
light the lamp, their specialty on the ice is
often more rewarding than scoring. Could a
huge hit have an even more influential
effect on a game than a goal?
"That's absolutely 100-percent the truth,"
senior defenseman Bob Gassoff said. "It

might not show up right away on the score-
board, but the team that's outhitting the
other team, nine times out of 10, is going to
be the team that ends up winning."
Not only can a resounding body check
light a fire under a team, but it can also
change the way its opponent approaches the
game.
"It puts some indecision in some guys'
minds that 'Boy I've got to pay the price to
make sure I've got to get that puck and
make a play," Pearson said. "And they get
nervous."
Nervousness often leads to sloppy play
and turnovers. It causes many players to
bring a more tentative mentality into a sport
where the scared get hurt.
The only road block in the unyielding
attempts for "taking someone's head off"
according to Swistak is the possible conse-
quence of ending up in the penalty box -
which could be a momentum changer of its
own.
But not everyone sees the invisible line in
the sand - they prefer to let their game
speak for itself.
" I don't think there is too far to go,"
Kautz said. "If a guy's not looking the right
way or has his head down - he's going to
get blasted."

Blue's Blue Chips
WHO WILL REPLACE THESE GUYS?
-7 4
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has reason to smile. He may have
lost potential first-round picks David Terrell, Anthony Thomas,
Jeff Backus and Steve Hutchinson to the NFL Draft, but with one
of the country's top recruiting classes, he should be able to fill
the void. Tomorrow's edition of The Michigan Daily will have
extensive coverage from Carr s press conference on those who,-
have signed their national letters of intent. FILE PHOTO

£es6iwt £q 93iaexua( - ed Cemun4
We, the Multicultural Portfolio of the Division of Student Affairs would like to extend congratulations to the University's
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transknder community in celebration of your annual
Visibility Week activities, February 7-16.
We appreciate your participation in the University community as a whole and look forward to a continuation of our work
together to make the University a safer and more peaceful environment for all its members.
We wish you much success in all your events

Wednesdav 'Februarv 7

m

S

Film: Intersex: "Redefining Sex"
3001 School of Public Health @ 7 PM
Donation Requested: $7

14sibility Week Keynote Speaker
Debra Kolodny on "The Bisexual Movement"
Michigan Room in the Michigan League, 7:30 PM-9:30 PM

!

.:T 1 T .. t 'f T1 's y

Ilie Graduate Student eer Dating Game
Rackham Assembly Hall 8 PM
Make a Valentineforyour Sweetheart(s)
Office of LGBT Affairs, 3200 Michigan Union @ 3 PM
Red & White Ball
Rackham Assembly Hall 10 PM-2 AM
Tickets: $4.00 in advance, $5.00 at the door

Brown Ba Lunch Discussion
FeaturingIebra Kolodny, speaking on Bisexuality and Spirituality
the Pon Room @ Noon
Valentine's Day Singles Social
Office of LGBT Affairs, 3200 Michigan Union, 8 PM-10 PM

LGBl Health Fair
Pond Room, 2 PM-7 PM
GBR3 (GederBenderRevueCUBED)
Michigan Union Ballroom @ 8 PM

IV - j I"W" N W R I W Vx%;~ia1

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