The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, October 9, 1995 - 58
Offensive depth, experience on defense key Michigan's hopes
By Jdm Lero
Daily Sports Writer
"National Championship"is apretty big phrase.
At least that's what Red Berenson says.
The 12th-year Michigan hockey coach has set
some high goals for the team going into the
1995-96 season, but if his Wolverines don't win
a national championship, he says life isn't over.
First and foremost, Berenson says he wants to
win a CCHA Playoff Championship - some-
thing Michigan has accomplished only once
since they entered the league in 1981.
But the Wolverines have owned the best regu-
lar season conference record three of the last
four years and, this season, they have the talent
to accomplish at least that much.
"I know how good this team could be,"
Berenson said. "There's nothing these guys
But the major question on Berenson's mind is
what the team will accomplish. Three of the last
four seasons, Michigan has been in the NCAA
Semifinals. Last year, the Wolverines were the
highest-scoring team in the country, outscoring
their opponents, 218-109.
Berenson must deal with the loss of All-
American right wing Mike Knuble, whose 38
goals led the country last season.
This year, Michigan's strengths lie up front
again. Nine returning forwards scored at least 10
goals last year - including five juniors.
"This is a team with a lot of good forwards,"
Berenson said. "If you talk about this team, you
talk about depth at forward and balanced scoring."
Junior Brendan Morrison, who was second to
Knuble with 23 goals in 1994, paced the nation in
scoring with 76 points in 39 games. Morrison's
experience makes him a Hobey Baker front run-
ner, but the high scoring center re-injured his left
knee Oct.2andisexpectedto be out for threetosix
The Wolverines are strong at center and should
bepowerful up the middle withorwithout Morrison.
Kevin Hilton (20 goals, 31 assists, 51 points) and
Mike Legg (14-23-37) can score as well as anyone
and are proven centermen.
Left wings John Madden (21-22-43) and Ja-
son Botterill (14-14-28) are excellent scorers
and Warren Luhning (17-24-41), who Berenson
compares to Knuble, and Bill Muckalt (19-18-
37) have similar potency on the right side.
mous choice as team captain - will anchor an
Halko, who contributed 16 points last season,
has been instrumental in fine-tuning the play of
freshman Andrew Berenzweig- a strong skater
who will figure to bolster a solid set of defend-
Juniors Blake Sloan (2-15-17), possibly the
team's best skater, and Harold Schock (2-16-
18) have experience and offensive skills.
"Our first goal is to be the best defensive team
in the league - we did that last year," Berenson
said. "Then we move to offense."
Michigan's defensemen were only part ofthe
reason why the Wolverines sported the CCHA's
stingiest defense. Some credit goes to CCHA
Freshman of the Year Marty Turco, who returns
between the pipes.
Turco's 2.76 goals against average and 27
wins ranked first in the CCHA. An All-Ameri-
can candidate, Turco will be expected to have an
even better season in 1995.
"I want to be more consistent," Turco said.
"Last year as a freshman I kind of surprised
people, but now everyone knows what to ex-
pect, so I've got to go to another level."
Berenson, for one, thinks that can happen. He
also said he thinks every player on this year's team
can improve on last year's performance. And if
that happens, look for good things late in March,
And if Berenson could ask one thing of his
"To play together every night. If we do that
we'll be a good team - and that's hard to do,"
said Berenson, a former Michigan player him
What does he expect?
"Same thing - we're not talking about the
Six-foot-3 freshman left wing Greg Crozier is
a smooth skater and will definitely be part of
Berenson's lineup. Right winger Sean Ritchlin
is also expected to be one of the best newcomers
in the conference.
"We have a lot of depth at forward - a lot of
people who can score," Madden said. "If you play
at Michigan, you have to play defense. We are
pretty good at the other end of the rink, too."
Defensively, the Wolverines return theirthree
best blueliners and add a strong freshman to the
group. Senior Steven Halko - almost a unani-
Michigan coach Red Berenson is looking for big things from right wing Warren Luhning.
Continued from page lB
It is Morrison's laid-back nature, how-
ever, that his teammates respect the most.
"He doesn't have a big head or any-
thing," Luhning says. "If you didn't ask,
he wouldn't even tell you he's a hockey
player." Because of his rare combination
of talent and modesty, Morrison is
Michigan's assistant captain this season.
Warren Luhning might not be as big
a star as Morrison, but he should make a
name for himself this year.
after his sense of humor, but that wouldn't
do him justice. His teammates describe
him-when they're notcallinghimLuhn
Dogg or Luhner - as a serious student
Luhning, who hails from Calgary,
Alberta, made the greatest offensive im-
provement last season among the five,
raising his point total from 19 to 41.
His success has been attributed to his
work ethic - "Have you seen his phy-
siqueT' one player said of the 6-foot-1,
206-pound Luhning. "It's incredible." -
but Berenson says he will have to work
"Warren has to be a big part of our
offense this year," Berenson says. "He
can bump some guys around and has the
shot to put in some more goals."
Jason Botterill is even bigger than
Luhning, but his size hasn't always been
an attribute. "We call him Fatty," says
Why not Fatty's Five then? Well,
because the 6-foot-4,209-pound Botterill
isn't quite as chubby as he used to be.
youth has been a constant team joke.
"Last year, he got a new jeep," Mad-
den says. "And we never let up. 'Hey
Botts,' we'd say, 'You old enough to
Since arriving two years ago, he has even though Botterill is no infant on
slimmed down enough to make quite an the ice, it's tempting to dub the five Four
impact. Men and a Baby in his honor.
Of the five, however, Berenson says John Madden might make a case for
Botterill may have to improve the most Madden Madder, because that's how he
this season. "He needs to have a better is when Michigan doesn't win.
"Itqs pretty hard to give us a
nickname We're pretty different guys.
- Jason Botterill
Michigan hockey player
a leap, tallying 22 goals and 21 assists for
"He doesn't say a whole lot some-
times, but you know he's ready," Luhning
says. "He is really intense."
Berenson is looking for a big year out
of Madden, emphasizing his skating and
shooting abilities. "He's got a lot of skills
and can put the puck in the net for us,"
Berenson says. "If he does what he's
capable of, he can be very successful."
What he can do is race down the boards
and get loose pucks before defensemen
can hear him growl (he is also known as
MaddDogg) and, when he's teamed with
Legg, he's even more dangerous.
"They call (Legg) and I Frick and
Frack," says Madden.
You might say Mike Legg is the Rink
Rat of the team, but he is also a special
feature. If the spotlight's on him, the five
must be Four Guys with One Legg. This
has nothing to do with overcoming adver-
sity, but it does refer to Legg's persona.
There is no one quite like him.
"If there is one guy who loves hockey,
it's Mike Legg," Luhning says.
Legg is the guy the coaches can't peel
off the ice at the end ofpractice everyday.
He berates his teammates for not staying
after to shoot the puck around and he
knows more stick tricks than any other
"Legger's hilarious," Luhning says.
"He's never serious until he's got the
uniform on. It's nice because he's not all
stressed out like some guys are."
Legg is much like Madden in that he
hasn't gotten much recognition thus far.
A London, Ontario native, Legg has put
in two solid seasons for Michigan, scor-
ing 23 points in 1993-94 and 37 in 1994-
95. Yet few have known about it.
Legg should get more attention this
season, and his favorite childhood team
may help him do it. The Montreal
Canadiens happen to have the best alias
for Michigan's Five Crafty Canadians.
Canadien teams have long been re-
ferredto as Les Habitants, ortheHabs. In
the tradition of the Fab Five nickname,
the solution to the dilemma is obvious.
Just like the basketball players, no one
clearly stands out. So the nickname must
go to what unites them. They're all Cana-
dian. They're all Habs.
They're the Hab Five. It's perfect, but
pretty bad ... eh?
at Western Michigan*
at Ferris State*
at Ferris State#*
at MiamiU (Ohio)~
atx College fHoey Sowcase§
at Michigan State*
year, and he knows that," Berenson says.
"He might have done too well his fresh-
man year, so it looks like he tailed off."
Botterill tore up the CCHA his first
season. He racked up 21 goals and 19
assists for 40 points and CCHA All-
Rookie team honors, but last winter
saw a big drop-off in his offensive pro-
duction. Botterill could only muster 28
Yet, he probably deserves some slack.
Though a junior, Botterill is only 19 and
his potential is enormous. The only rea-
son 1994-95 might have been a disap-
pointment is his vast array of abilities. If
he wasn't so good, no one would have
Off the ice, things are a bit lighter. His
"Johnny Madden is one of the most
intense guys onthe ice," Legg says. "He's
all business and is one of the quickest
guys in the league."
Madden, from Barrie, Ontario, is one
of the best-kept secrets on the Wolver-
He didn't stand out his freshman year,
chipping in only six goals, 11 assists and
17 points. But last season, he made quite
LAKE SUPERIOR STATE*
at Westem Michigan*
at Bowling Green*
at Great Lakes Invitational%
vs. Northern Michigan
Jhy Maz~ie anzd t 5/e -ovent'me
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5 FERRIS STATE*
6 MIAMI (OHIO)*
20 at Notre Dame*
26 at Ohio State*
27 at Bowling Green*
By John Lwtol
Daily Sports Writer
They've been knocking on the door
for four years. Always a bridesmaid,
never a bride.
Michigan has had the talent to wear a
national crown,but somehow, something,
someone has been in its way.
Three years ago
it was Maine. Last
year it was Maine
again. One win
away from a date
in the NCAA title
game and twice
the Black Bears
coach Red r
Berenson says he
isn't the least bit concerned.
"You can't put everything into a na-
tional championship," he says, a sol-
emn look across his face.
But its obvious what the Wolverines'
goals are. They've been there before.
They've won CCHA Championships.
They've taken seven-straight Great Lakes
Invitational crowns. They own anNCAA-
record seven titles-but all before 1965.
They've been one of the best teams in
the country for years. Not winning the
championship is frustrating. ButBerenson
says that's what he likes the most about
"I'd rather be right up there, having a
shot to win it every year than win it one
time and then disappear," he says. "I'm
proud.of the fact that we're usually up
there. Our day will come."
The players certainly want it to. Imag-
ine accomplishing everything you've
dreamed, hurdling every obstacle in your
way, being the best, but not being able to
finish on top.
There are other parts ofthe season and
each is important - but there is one
"We want to win,"junior forward John
Madden says. "We want to win games.
But the bottom line is a national champi-
onship. I don't think anyone on this team
will be happy without the ultimate goal."
And what about Maine? There's no
secret why Michigan is scheduled to play
the Black Bears Oct. 26 at the Palace of
Auburn Hills. Berenson swears he
doesn't feel any animosity towards
Maine, but admits there might be some
talk in the lockerroom of revenge.
The game will likely be a barometer
where the Wolverines stack up against
championship-caliber foes. But,ofcourse,
"Obviously we set goals and post them
in the lockerroom," says sophomore
netminder Marty Turco.
"Everything we do is for a national
championship. But we can't look at that
before Christmas and we can't look at
those games before ..."
Before Maine. The truth is, whether or
not this game will be a grudge match, it
will bea test for the Wolverines. Can they
win big games? Berenson says they have,
but they haven't even played in the big-
gest of them all -the national title game
- since 1977.
Tothis day Berenson saysthatMaine's
overtime victory against his Michigan
squadin 1993 was themost disappointing
loss he's had. In fact, in last year's heart-
breaking loss, he says the Wolverines
played their best semifinal game ever.
"It's frustrating when you lose and you
have the talent," he admits. "... it would
be nice to have one trophy, just to say we
For a great program, nothing could
at Notre Darne*
vs. MICHIGAN STATE*
at Lake Superior State*
at CCHA Semifinals%
at CCHA Championships%
at NCAA Regionals
at NCAA Semifinals -
at NCAA Championships
aome games in 0LD
*Denotes CCHA opponents
L @ Ppalae of Auburn Hills
8 @ Bradley Center, Milwaukee, \i
% @ Joe Louis Arena, Detroit