March 25, 2003
Shaved heads and facial
hair highlight postseason
'M' nine opens the Fish
By Jake Rosenwassr
Daily Sports Writer
By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer
The Anaheim Angels won the World Series
behind the power of the Rally Monkey. The
Notre Dame basketball team reached the Sweet
16 last Saturday with a roster of shaved heads.
And the Michigan hockey team is hoping that
facial hair will power them to the Frozen Four.
The Wolverines decided to show some unity
for the postseason by putting the Mach 3s away
for a while. Now that a few weeks have passed,
not everyone is pleased with how things look.
"I'm not a big fan of (the facial hair)," associ-
ate head coach Mel Pearson said. "I know we
have some players who can't grow any facial
hair. So it looks kind of weird - some guys
with it, some guys without it."
Last year, the Michigan players dyed their
hair blonde for the most important games of the
season. But that didn't work, as a 3-2 loss to
Minnesota dropped the Wolverines in the semi-
finals of the Frozen Four.
And Pearson liked that look even less.
"I don't know who did it, but they had some
issues last year," Pearson said. "It was bad. It
wasn't like it was a little dyed, it was all differ-
ent colors. So I didn't think it looked good."
This year, the team decided to try something
a little different. And after winning the Mason
Cup this past weekend at Joe Louis Arena, none
of the players seem to care what they look like.
"It's like sacrificing for the team," alter-
nate captain Andy Burnes said. "You give
up a little bit of your looks for the sake of
the team. So it's fun."
That doesn't mean that they won't give each
other a hard time about it. Backup goalie Noah
Ruden said center Andrew Ebbett, his room-
mate, could use a little work on his.
"We say he's got the 'Joe Dirt' look, because
he's got the chops coming in only and the goatee,
he can't really grow anything else," said Ruden,
pointing to his cheeks where Ebbett is missing
hair. "So I kind of give him stuff for that."
The Wolverines aren't alone in their supersti-
tions. In Detroit, it seemed like every team at
the CCHA Super Six had done something. Fer-
ris State had beards. The Northern Michigan
freshmen had shaved heads.
Pearson said that he feels the only effect any of
those things might have is to give the team a bit
of a mental edge. Whatever impact the beards
have, it seems that the hockey postseason brings
out more superstition than any other sport.
"Maybe it's because we have the shields on,
For the first time in a long time, there is reason
for optimism at the Fish.
The Wolverines will take on Central Michigan
for the second-straight time. On Sunday they fell
victim to the Chippewas 12-8 after
surrendering eight runs in the fifth To
inning at the Butler Classic in Indi-
"We'd really like to get back at Cen-
tral," senior Gino Lollio said. "That
was a team we could beat, we're excit- Ray Fi
ed to get another shot at them." Stadi
Due to the nature of Michigan win-
ters, the team was forced to open its season on the
road for 16 games before its home opener today.
Playing 10-plus games in unfamiliar confines can
be quite a daunting task, and all too often, the
Wolverines get back to the Fish with a record that
is seemingly impossible to recover from.
"It's tough, but it's not like we really have a
choice in the matter," Lollio said. "We play a lot
of the games at neutral sites, not road games, so
that makes it a little easier."
There was no room for optimism at last year's
home opener. The Wolverines struggled mightily
out of the gate last season. By the time they
played their first game in Ann Arbor, they were a
dreadful 2-10. Even though they won six of their
first seven at the Fish, they could never climb out
of that enormous hole.
But today the Wolverines will open with a
respectable 7-9 record.
"The road is great for team bonding," coach Rich
Maloney said. "But, it's always easier to play at
home. We're excited to be home for pretty much all
The Wolverines have to be excited
considering they will play 18 of their
- next 24 games at the Fish.
l ; < >Last year's home opener was one
m of the few bright spots for Michigan.
sher After trailing 3-2 in the top of the
'$> eighth to Bowling Green, Lollio
answered with a two-run homerun
that gave Michigan a 4-3 win. The senior is hop-
ing for a similar outcome this year.
"It would be great to get off to a good start
here," Lollio said. "Hopefully I can con-
tribute to a 'W' again."
The outfielder is excited to finally play in front
of a home crowd.
"There's nothing like seeing familiar faces in
the crowd," Lollio said. "It's been a long time
since we had that."
Lollio also likes the familiarity that playing at
the Fish brings.
"When it gets warm we practice there every
day," Lollio said. "We're more comfortable there
then anywhere else."
Seniors John Shouneyia (left) and Mark Mink do
their best to look like Sly Stallone from "Rocky IV."
we feel a little bit more free to do what we want
with our hair and facial hair," Ruden said. "I
don't know. I think as a breed, we're a little bit
crazier than most. We come up with some crazy
ideas to do."
The only consensus seems to be that if it
works, stick with it.
"If we win it (all), for sure I'll keep (the
beard) on," Ruden said. "But we'll see."
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