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March 25, 2002 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-25

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

PeRTSctAiY Dao
S .RP SM -Y

Sports desk: 763-2459
sportsdesk@umich.edu

SECTION B

* S ,.anaii co on, Marh 25 200

Bflue needs
a quick
resolution
for Martin
or years everyone has been waiting for
the Ed Martin issue to finally be
resolved, for the names and dollar
amounts to finally be
revealed and for Michi-
gan to own up and
accept its punishment.
The Martin saga
began more than six
years ago, and three sep-
arate investigations dur-
ing that time could only
turn up minor violations. STEVE
But this week we JACKSON
aren't talking about
birthday cakes, rides for Time for
grandmas, big screen Action
television sets or even
cars. Now the scandal has been expanded to
hundreds of thousands of dollars, paid in
cash to "amateur" athletes at Michigan.
The stakes have risen, and that should
scare the University and anyone who cares
about Michigan basketball.
If the administration is smart, it will be
holding emergency meetings this week so
that it can act quickly and decisively on this
issue.
Michigan cannot hide behind its previous
investigations or its banishment of Martin
from Crisler.
Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock still
found ways to get their hands on Martin's
money after the department publicly disasso-
ciated itself from him.
Michigan cannot hide behind the NCAA's
statute of limitations either.
If that statute were to protect Michigan,
then the NCAA would be telling every
school in the country that the best way to
avoid sanctions is to not cooperate with
investigations and just wait out the storm.
That was the Michigan way - shut every-
body up and hope people forget.
That silent treatment almost worked, but
the circus ended when the federal government
stepped in with its subpoena power and
forced people to admit what they saw and did.
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker doesn't
deserve to be punished, and neither does ath-
letic director Bill Martin or interim President
B. Joseph White. They weren't around when
all this transpired.
That is why Michigan needs to be proac-
tive in putting the punishment on the old
regime.
Games ought to be forfeited. Banners
ought to be brought down.
Michigan has a long and storied tradition
that has been built on success and fair play.
What happened with Ed Martin and the bas-
ketball program was shameful and it wasn't
"Michigan."
No action will really punish the people
who were truly responsible. But by visibly
distancing itself from the scandalous years,
the athletic department will show every
coach and every player that ever sets foot in
Ann Arbor just how important integrity is at
this University. Thirty years from now, peo-
ple should see the same program that
excelled for years without Ed Martin.
Michiganhas the leadership to do that, but
it also needs to have a system in place so that
the traditions of honesty and fair play are
never compromised again.
Temporary sanctions like losing scholar-
ships, postseason appearances or television
time would only serve to kick this program
while it's down and punish innocent players
and coaches. Crossing out the program's
embarrassing past would forever eliminate the

association of Michigan with extra benefits.
With each day that goes by without
action from Michigan, it looks more and
more like the administration isn't taking
these accusations seriously.
Despite all its best efforts, Michigan was
never in complete control of this situation.
Money continued to be exchanged after the
University put safeguards in place. Athletes
lived the high life, and investigation after
investigation turned up nothing.
Michigan's leaders had to know that this
day was going to come. They may not have
known the names and numbers, but they
knew this scandal wouldn't just go away.
Michigan has always been an exemplary
athletic institution. The University must
return to the values that made the Maize
and Blue the envy of the nation. That
process starts by admitting wrongdoing,
and it ends with Bill Martin, White and
Amaker taking a stand against their pro-
gram's shameful past.

e

I

id Ny-ht
Only thing that can keep 'M'
from national title run is itself

By J. Brady McCo Iough
Daily Sports Writer
In every team's season, there's a turning point -
something that can't really be understood by an out-
sider. It either propels a team to the greatest of
heights, or sends it spiraling down to rock-bottom.
For the Michigan hockey team, that moment came
on the fateful night of Oct. 27, when the Wolverines
were swept at home by Northern Michigan and
watched their conference
record drop to 1-3-1. The team
was embarrassed, angry and HOCKEY
knew that something had to Commentary
change with a grueling CCHA
road schedule on the horizon.
Although the fans and media panicked and
thought that this team was too young to handle the
pressure, Michigan coach Red Berenson never lost
faith, and the Wolverines continued to believe in
themselves.
What transpired in the Michigan lockerroom that
night after the loss can only be imagined, but one
thing is for sure. It changed the Wolverines' season
in a heartbeat. Michigan junior Mike Cammalleri
had a message to deliver at the press conference - a
message that formed the attitude of this team for the
rest of the season.
"I think that we're sick of being called a young
team;' Cammalleri said. "I think the freshmen are
sick of being called young players; they don't play
like it out there."
And he was right.
Michigan's 11 freshmen responded behind the

confidence of their leaders and coaches, and the
Wolverines came together as a team. As the season
went on, it became obvious that the freshmen
weren't freshmen anymore. At times, they carried
the team and scored the goals that no one else would
score, and this weekend, they scored six of Michi-
gan's nine goals.
Give credit to the freshmen for growing up, but
without the team's leadership, embodied in the heart
of captain Jed Ortmeyer, the Wolverines would not
be making reservations for the Frozen Four in St.
Paul, Minn. The Omaha native is the consummate
leader. All the freshmen had to do was mimic his
every move and word to learn how to be a Michigan
hockey player.
The Wolverines have had every chance to crum-
ble. Aside from the traumatic start to league play,
Michigan had to play from Jan. 12 to March 1 with-
out Cammalleri, its most talented playmaker who
was sidelined with mono. But the Wolverines stayed
atop the CCHA in his absence, playing their best
hockey of the season while rolling off seven straight
conference wins.
The NCAA Tournament selection committee gave
Michigan another chance to crumble, to whine and
make excuses. The Wolverines were awarded a No.
4 seed in the West Regional, while Michigan State
- which the Wolverines beat out for the CCHA
Tournament championship and regular season title
- got a No. 3 seed. Michigan, by virtue of a new
regionalization rule which placed the three worst
teams in the East Regional, needed to go through a
gauntlet of the top two teams in the WCHA - St.
See SURVIVING, Page 4B

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PHOTOS BY DAVID KATZ/Daily
Top: Michigan freshman forward Eric Nystrom celebrates after the Wolverines' 5-3 victory over Denver on Saturday night. Nystrom scored two goals and assisted on captain Jed Ortmeyer's game-winning
tally. Above: Michigan's first powerplay unit embraces after Mike Komisarek's goal, which gave the Wolverines a 2-1 lead early In the second period on Saturday.
Nystrom ea s Migan to rozen our berth

By Naweed Sikora
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan freshman Eric Nystrom is known
for his elaborate post-goal celebrations. He
often practices what he is going to do after
goals during the week at Michigan's practices.
Saturday, all his practice paid off.
After Jed Ortmeyer's game-winning goal
with 1:21 left in the third period, every Michi-
gan player on the ice crashed into the Denver
goal in celebration. The first player to emerge
from this dogpile was Nystrom, who came out
pumping his fists into the air towards the crowd
and leaning back on one skate in jubilation.
"Ortmeyer was stuck in the net so he could-
n't get out;' Nystrom said.
The freshman, who had assisted on the Ort-
meyer goal, skated to the Michigan bench
where his teammates congratulated him. But he
wasn't finished yet.
With 27 seconds remaining, Nystrom sealed
the victory with an empty net goal from the red
- U: - _

prise to the Wolverines, who had witnessed the
freshman score several big goals for them
throughout the season. But as Michigan coach
Red Berenson said, Saturday night's clutch per-
formance by the freshman was extra special.
"His assist was huge," Berenson said. "What
a play for a freshman to make in that situation.
It was awesome."
Nystrom gave the Wolverines their first lead
of the game early in the second period. Ort-
meyer held the puck in the zone near the blue
line and passed it to junior John Shouneyia,
who found himself on a 2-on-1 with Nystrom.
Shouneyia fed Nystrom, who wristed one by
Denver goalie Wade Dubielewicz while falling
on his back for the 1-0 lead.
"The defenseman committed to me, so Nys-
trom was wide open," Shouneyia said. "And he
just put it in."
Late in the third period, with the score knot-
ted at three, Nystrom made the pass of the sea-
son thus far. Ortmeyer got possession of the
puck at the Denver blue line and dished it to
Vxem . h fr.han- eka- t th .t .oad

"We were watching the video of their goalie,
and coach (Billy) Powers told us that some-
times he overcommits," Nystrom said. "That
time, he slid all the way across, I saw the seam,
and I hit Ortmeyer."
And finally, the empty netter capped off
an astonishing night for Nystrom, and sent
Michigan's bench and crowd into a frenzy.
Success in clutch situations is nothing
new for Nystrom. The freshman has scored
several goals that have accounted for not
only wins, but also turning points in the sea-
son. Just ask Nebraska-Omaha.
On two separate occasions against the
Mavericks this season (Nov. 17 and Feb, 8)
Nystrom scored overtime goals to give
Michigan two crucial victories. After the 4-3
win on Nov. 17, Michigan went 6-0-1 in its
next seven CCHA games. After the 2-1 win
on Feb. 8, Michigan went undefeated in con-
ference play (5-0-0) and rolled into the play-
offs with a head of steam.
Against Michigan State in the CCHA
Tnrurmemnt ehamninshin gme -NvstrAm

the game. With the score tied at two and
the Wolverines on the powerplay, Nystrom
got control of the puck in the Michigan
State zone and fed the puck in front of the
net to Ortmeyer who scored the game-win-
ning goal.
"We call him 'Ny'zerman," said fellow
freshman Milan Gajic, in reference to
Detroit Red Wings forward Steve Yzerman.
"He scored a huge goal, made an unbeliev-
able pass to Ortmeyer, and then put in the
empty netter. You can't write it any better
than that. He's had an unbelievable year."
Now, Nystrom and the rest of the Wolver-
ines must prepare for what is going to be
their toughest game of the season - Min-
nesota in St. Paul, Minn. The crowd, which
will be composed of nearly 20,000 Gopher
fans, will be the complete opposite of Yost
this past weekend, which was overwhelming-
ly behind the Wolverines.
"So far this season, we've been a great
road team," Nystrom said. "We need to play
that strong road hockev we've nlaved all sea-

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