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February 04, 2004 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-04

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 4, 2003
'Sin bin' awaits naughty Icers

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By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer
Fact or fiction: College hockey players and third
graders share many traits.
Fact.
At first glance, it might seem odd to compare players
to a bunch of young schoolchildren. But the two
groups have at least one thing in common - when they
act inappropriately, they can be sent to take a "time-
out."
The hockey version of this punishment consists of
being sent to the penalty box.
"It's the sin-bin," defender Brandon Rogers said with
a sly grin on his face. "You don't want to spend too
much time there."
"You just hope (the other team) doesn't score," said
alternate captain Eric Nystrom of being in the penalty
box. "When they do score, it's the longest skate across
the ice you could possibly take."
The term "sin-bin" shows how most people view a
trip to the penalty box - the offending player is going
there to pay his dues for wrongdoings against a mem-
ber of the other team. Such a conclusion is correct on a
technical level.

But there are also situations where a trip to the
penalty box can be seen as a positive thing.
"There's such a thing as a good penalty and a bad
penalty," associate head coach Mel Pearson said. "Usu-
ally a good penalty is where you're preventing a scor-
ing chance. It's somewhere near your net where you
have to take a penalty, maybe, so a guy doesn't get a
great opportunity to score.
"A bad penalty might be when you take one in your
own offensive zone, like 200 feet from your net."
Fighting seems to fall into the "bad" category, but
this is not entirely true.
"(Fighting) can bring a team closer together because
you're standing up for each other and you're willing to
put yourself on the line," Pearson said.
Said Rogers: "If your teammate's ever in trouble or
(the other team) hit the goalie and hurt him, then
there's going to be some payback,"
Nystrom noted that, in the end, the ultimate result of
a penalty is out of the hands of any player or coach.
"If it's an honest penalty, if it prevents a goal for
some reason, the hockey gods make your teammates
kill it off," Nystrom said.
"When you take a bad penalty, for some reason they
always score."
Michigan's team statistics show that defenders tend
to spend more time between the glass walls than for-
wards. Defenders have averaged 26:26 penalty minutes
per person so far this season, while offensive players
have averaged just 17:52 minutes a game.
These figures would also be further apart if a fight
had not occurred during the Western Michigan game
on Jan. 24, resulting in 10-minute major penalties for
two Michigan forwards - junior forward Michael
Woodford and freshman forward Mike Brown.
Junior forward Dwight Helminen attributed this dif-
ference in penalty minutes to the personalities that the
two positions (defenders and forwards) take on the ice.
"If you're a guy who has the puck a lot or is attack-
ing a lot, you're not likely to get penalties just because
you're on the attack," Helminen said. "The guy defen-
sively is trying to shut you down, so he's got more of a
chance of taking a penalty."
Helminen is great example of this. The Brighton
native is fifth on the team with seven goals and he has
yet to take a penalty.
Freshman defender Matt Hunwick, on the other
hand, has yet to score and leads the team with 44
penalty minutes.
"The tendency seems to be (that) the more aggres-
sive you are, the more penalties you're going to take,"
Pearson said. "(Helminen) is an aggressive player, but
he doesn't take a lot of penalties because he uses his
speed."
In the end, the fact remains that no team wants to be
a man down in any situation. Pearson said that the
coaches usually spend a few hours a week dealing with
penalties and devote a few minutes on each gameday
talking about discipline.
He also noted that learning to take penalties is not
something that a player is simply able to do the minute
he steps on the ice as a freshman.
"I think you have to coach (about taking penalties),"
Pearson said. "They're not used to it. Sometimes they
come from junior hockey, which can be a pretty rough
game.
"I also think the freshmen sometimes get picked on
within the league. The officials know who the fresh-
men are, and they're trying to set an example."

DAVID TUMAN/Daily
Bernard Robinson, "Mr. Everything," leads Michigan In all the major categories this season.

Robinson keeps doing

By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Editor

"Mr. Everything" has done just
that for the Wolverines this year.
Bernard Robinson - dubbed
"Mr. Everything" by his coach and
teammates - has
been the most ver-
satile floor pres-
ence for the
Wolverines game $
in and game out.
And the 6-foot-6
senior has quietly been climbing the
ladder as a Big Ten leader in a num-
ber of statistical categories.
Robinson is 11th in the Big Ten in
scoring, averaging 13.1 points per
game. He is also 11th in rebounding
(5.8 ) and 10th in assists (3.61).
"He's been outstanding," Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker said.
"(Bernard has been) our most con-
sistent player, our most valuable
player."
Robinson has also been prolific in
some other statistical categories
which can easily go unnoticed: he
has racked up 39 steals through 18
games (second in the conference)
and is 12th in the Big Ten with an
assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.18.
While Robinson leads Michigan
in all of the above stats, it's not the
senior's numbers or rankings that

his coach gives him the most credit
for.
"He's also drawn the toughest
defensive assignments for our ball
club, in addition to the stats,"
Amaker said.
"He's certainly established him-
self as one of the top defensive
players in this league."
IN THE MIDDLE: Amaker said that
one thing he would have liked to see
in Michigan's 67-52 loss to Illinois
last weekend was more production
from his big men.
Starters Graham Brown and
Courtney Sims combined for just
eight points on seven total shots
from the floor.
On the other hand, in Michigan's
90-84 win over Iowa last Wednes-
day, the two combined for 24 points
and took 16 shots.
Illinois double-teamed Michigan's
post players for much of Saturday's
game, and Michigan turned the ball
over several times while trying to
force the ball back out from the
block.
"We also try to teach our post
players that something they need to
do, being young post players, is
show some poise and patience,"
Amaker said. "Sometimes that's
very hard to do when the ball goes
into the post."
DAYS OF REST: Michigan has a bye

e6veryting'
week of sorts, as every other Big
Ten team played last night or is
scheduled to play tonight. The
Wolverines return to action on Sat-
urday against Purdue.
Amaker said that he has been try-
ing to mix up his routine in practice,
because he knows that doing the
same drills each day for a week can
get old quickly.
He also said that he'd rather be
playing a game during the week,
especially coming off the loss to Illi-
nois on Saturday.
"I'd prefer to have a game this
week so we could get back at it and
hopefully get a win," Amaker said.
"But, obviously we've got to use
this week the proper way."
Having the whole week off may
be a blessing in disguise for Michi-
gan, as it gives the Wolverines a
chance to rest and come out at 100
percent against Purdue, both physi-
cally and mentally.
Sophomore Chris Hunter, who
has .missed three straight games, is
using the week off to see the doctor
and try to gain medical clearance to
play. Hunter reaggravated a knee
injury and several days later had his
nose accidentally broken by team-
mate J.C. Mathis.
Amaker said that Hunter will be
fitted for a face mask this week, and
he may be ready to play on Saturday.

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Freshmen Matt Hunwick (top) and Mike Brown (bottom)
were sent to the penalty box for fighting against Western
Michigan two weeks ago.

BURKE
Continued from Page 12
clear that he was blooming into a spectacular football player
and disintegrating into a mediocre third baseman.
He'll get his chance - he is (well, for now, let's make
that he was) a mobile, smart quarterback with a rocket arm.
The NFL scouts still drool over him.
With his baseball career officially in the past, let's hope
that one of the University's greatest athletes can find some
professional success.
What is going on with the Los Angeles Lakers?
On Sunday, during a live TV interview after a win over the
Toronto Raptors, Shaq-Daddy or Diesel or Kazaam! - what-
ever you want to call him - launched into a profanity-filled
complaint about the referees. After being reminded he was on
live television, Shaq responded that he didn't "give a s***."
We've also got the Kobe Bryant situation hanging over

the Lakers' heads. And last week, current Laker Karl Mal-
one got into a spat with his former team, the Utah Jazz. This
came after the Jazz performed a mock phone call over the
P.A. system during the Lakers-Jazz game. The call included
a fake Malone saying he wanted to "come home to Utah,"
and then poked fun at Bryant's situation.
In response to that, Malone said: "I guarantee you, I'll
have the last say on this. That little skit they did, it'll cost
them. I guarantee you."
Woah. Easy on the revenge train there, Hamlet. It was a
fairly harmless gag.
Regardless of whether the Jazz's stunt was appropriate, or
whether the refs were solid on Sunday, or whether Kobe did
it or not, there's no debating this: The Lakers are suddenly
turning into a public relations nightmare.
If only they could be more like the Tigers.
Chris Burke can be reached at chrisbur@umich.edu.

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