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March 06, 2001 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-06

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Daily forum
Ssomething about Michigan's hockey team bothering you-
you disappointed by your favorite teasa' covrrage.
jA plain bored'
Stop yelling from the sidelines. Speak your mind at
rirhtandailyxcom|forum. We'l see var there.
'tichigandaily.com sports

te~fidiawu ag
SPORTS

TUESDAY
MARCH 6, 2001

11

Gearing

up

CHRIS
DUPREY

Injured Langfeld may
be back for CCHAs

THE SECONDSEASON
129
COUNTDOWN To ALBANY
By Ryan C. Moloney
*ySports Writer
Many who saw it happen wondered
how Josh Langfeld could stand afterward.
When the senior forward crumpled to
the ice late in the second period of the
Michigan hockey team's Feb. 17 game
against Michigan State, a collective gasp
rose up from the Joe Louis Arena crowd
and press box.
Langfeld had gotten his right knee
locked underneath a falling Adam Hall
with Langfeld's scrunched, pain-
stricken face fully visible through his
face mask, his body fell backward and
'contracted into a "C" shape.
The crowd reaction was well-intended
sympathy, but little consolation for
Langfeld. As Michigan's big winger lay
writhing on the ice, it looked as though
his last games as a Wolverine would be
spent in a suit and tie instead of maize
blue.
et there Langfeld was yesterday,
slashing around the Yost Arena ice with a
vengeance - as if he'd just awakened
from a two-week-long bad dream.
Through steady rehabilitation,
Langfeld has worked his knee back up to
"0 or 85 percent" by his estimations.
Michigan's third-leading goal scorer
could be back for the Wolverines' week-
end bout with Ferris State.
"I'm glad he's on the ice, I feel good
ut that," Michigan coach Red

Berenson said. "We'll see how he feels
tomorrow and the next day as to whether
or not we'll think about him playing on
Friday."
Langfeld reported little pain in his
skating, save his stopping and starting.
"I was happy to make it through the
whole practice today," he said. "It's pret-
ty sore right now - I'd like to play. If it
gets worse everyday I'll have to back
off."
In his time away from the ice,
Langfeld has tried to maintain the same
physical regimen, though weight and car-
diovascular training offer little to match
the reactionary quickness of game speed.
"I'm going to train as though I'm
going to play this weekend," Langfeld
said. "I'm not out of shape but I am not
in the shape I was in two weeks ago. It's
a matter of getting my timing back and
seeing the ice again."
Without Langfeld in the lineup for the
past three games, the Michigan offense
has averaged just over two goals a game.
KOmISAREK WINS AWARD: Michigan
freshman defenseman Mike Komisarek
was named to the CCHA All-Rookie
Team yesterday.
The 6-4, 225-pound blueliner won
respect from around the league this sea-
son with his physical presence and con-
siderable skill on both sides of the puck.
Komisarek is also a mainstay on special
teams.
"It's a great honor - a pat on the back
for this year," Komisarek said.
Surprisingly, Michigan's other fresh-
man defenseman, Andy Burnes, was left
off the team.
"I'm kind of shocked I was picked and
not Andy" Komisarek said.

Some Tuesday
mormng musings
F ive Big Ten teams have already locked up NCAA
Tournament bids. Two more, Penn State and Iowa, are
fighting for what appears to be the Big Ten's final spot.
One of the two must get in to do justice to the conference's
power ranking, but not both. Each has a nearly identical.
record (Penn State at 17-10, Iowa at 18-1) and they've split
the season series, with the road team winning both. W-
I invoke the Kenyon Martin rule. Last season, Cincinnti
was dropped from a No. I to a No. 2 seed because of
Martin's season-ending injury.
If Martin's impending absence was able to hurt Cincinnati,
then Luke Recker's past absence and possible return can help
Iowa. The Hawkeyes have played nine games without Reker,
suffering a 2-7 slide during that time.
Recker may or may not be back for Big Tens. A more ike-
ly scenario puts him back in action the week after, for the
first week of postseason play.
If that's the case, the NCAA Tournament committee -
which claims Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby as a mem-
ber, I might add - should evaluate Iowa on a Recker-inclu-
sive basis. With quality wins over Detroit, Illinois and
Indiana, that should be enough to squeeze the Hawkeyes 1.
Penn State hasn't been missing a player the caliber of
Recker. The Nittany Lions are playing the best they can
which should position them for a run to the NIT champi-..
onship game, as it almost always does.
I can see it now: The Crispins do the Big Apple. Brilliant.
REF BLUNDERS: It might have slipped by the students that
left town early for Spring Break, but the Michigan hockey
team's 2-1 loss at Lake Superior on Feb. 22 provided further
evidence of the weak officiating that plagues the CCHA.
Michigan has never been a team to draw favors from
league refs, especially on the road. The Lake State game took
this principle to ridiculousness when referee Brent ,
Rutherford granted the Lakers a goal with 2:06 remaining in
the third period of a 1-1 game.
Lake Superior's Tyson Turgeon wristed a shot from theslot
that hit the crossbar and bounced harmlessly away. The goal
judge did not turn on his light; neither Rutherford nor his
linesmen ruled the shot a goal.
Michigan goalie Josh Blackburn eventually covered th,
puck. Rather than heading for the facoff circle, Rutherford
went to the phones. Following a conversation with the goal~
judge, he ruled the play a goal and skated to center ice. The
Wolverines stood in shock.
The CCHA tries to hide its lack of quality officials, and
for the most part is able to do so. It has two solid rfereesin
Steve Piotrowski and Duke Shegos.
More often than not for big games, the league sends one of
these two to uphold law and order on the ice. That way, a
capacity crowd of 20,000 at the Joe Louis Arena isn't out-
raged by poor officiating - only a sparse gathering of 2,500
in Sault Ste. Marie is.
With the addition of Nebraska-Omaha in 1999-2000, the
CCHA now has 12 teams. On a nightly basis, six referees,
need to be assigned. Before, in the 1I-team league, only ftve
conference games were being played on any given night,,
while one team took the night off.
Couple this with the retirement of Matt Shegos, one of the
league's best, and the CCHA is down two quality officials,
every night. (One extra game that needs to be officiated, one
less good official.)
The league can cover itself well for big games with
Piotrowski and Duke Shegos. But on a nightly basis, the
Brent Rutherfords, Brian Aarons and Mark Wilkins of the
CCHA rule the roost. And that leaves the league and its vic-
tims - teams like the Wolverines - in great peril.
Chris Duprev can be reaghed
at cduprev@umnchiedu

BRAD QUINN/Daily
Even after forward Josh Langfeld injured his right knee in the Feb. 17 game against Michigan State, the
senior made it through practice yesterday. But playing time this weekend is still uncertain.

Cagers change mindset for Big Tens

By Dan Williams
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan basketball team seemed unusually relaxed
yesterday as it reflected on the 2000-'01 regular season and
spoke about the daunting Big Ten Tournament.
Much of the conversation focused on how the Wolverines
dug themselves such a large hole and how they could dig their
way back out of it.
With Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest and St. John's on the
pre-Big Ten schedule, Michigan was never able to really get
on a roll during the regular season.
"You always want to get off to a good start, just like you
want to get off to a good start in a game," Michigan coach
Brian Ellerbe said. "But we've played some pretty good
teams."
Michigan then opened up the Big Ten season with four of
the first five games on the road, causing the Wolverines to
stumble again.
"You're going up against a lot of really good veterans. You
look at the rosters of the first five or six teams in our league,
there's no youngsters on the roster," Ellerbe said. "I don't care
how good you are in high school, if you come to the Big Ten,
and you're playing against juniors and seniors, you're going
to get baptized a few times."
Last Saturday was the end to a long, laborious journey for
the Wolverines. Michigan (4-12 Big Ten, 10-17 overall)
closed out its difficult regular season with a 78-57 loss at the
Breslin Center to Michigan State.
Following the game, things sank even lower as the team
bus got caught in post-game traffic. The bus had its interior
lights on so that the team could eat dinner, allowing rowdy

Michigan State passers-by to recognize and taunt the defeat-
ed Wolverines.
"They started hooting and hollering and saying all kinds of
derogatory statements. Right at that moment I lost my
appetite," Michigan junior Chris Young said.
And with that, Michigan closes the book on a regular sea-
son where things were never close to going right. The team
was obviously relieved yesterday to be separated from the rest
of the year and focusing on the BTT in Chicago.
"I'm just optimistic. about it. It's a totally new season,"
Young said. "I think we can do whatever we want. We can go
in there and win four games, cut down the nets on Sunday and
get our automatic bid to the NCAAs."
The team hopes with a fresh start, they can finally build
some momentum.
"I think under the circumstances, with our schedule and the
personnel that we have, I don't feel like we underachieved,"
Ellerbe said. "I think we're in good spirits. We're looking for-
ward to Chicago."
Michigan will face Penn State in the opening .round
Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Wolverines fell to the Nittany
Lions in State College in their only regular-season meeting,
77-66.
BLANCHARD LAUDED: The media named LaVell Blanchard
See BLANCHARD, Page 13

MARJORIE MAHbMALL/Daily
Josh Asselin and the Wolverines know that the Big Ten
Tournament means a second chance at the postseason.

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