Forty-two #3

I'll get to the big question, but first, I have a smaller question to ponder.

Y, Stevie Y?

I think this was a great move for Yzerman, and it could end up being a great move for the Wings down the road. Yzerman would have been brought along slowly in the front office of the Wings because there are so many people ahead of him who have been so instrumental in the success of the franchise. It could have been ten or even as many as twenty years before he would have gotten this opportunity in Detroit.

As a Tampa Bay area resident, I love the move. I moved here just as the Lightning were finishing their improbable journey to the Stanley Cup. Most of the fans here don't know hockey; the prevailing attitude was "Wow, dude, a Stanley Cup; let's go to the beach." They had no idea how difficult it is to win one. And they had no idea that the reason the Lightning won was a convergence of a hot goalie, many players having career years, and the synergy that happens when young players are "all in." Torterella had a team that would literally run through walls for him.

The next season they played, after the lockout, the Lightning were just another team. The "Bulin wall" had gone on to Chicago, too many players got huge raises for their second contracts, and the intensity wasn't there anymore. Inexplicibly, the fans wondered "what was wrong with the Lightning?" The answer of course, was that there really wasn't anything wrong with them, but that a ton of things had to go historically right for them to win the previous cup.

Torterella would eventually be fired, and the shit hit the fan. There have been two new ownership teams and numerous changes on the coaching staff and in the front office. Since the team has hit rock bottom, Yzerman is a great choice. After all, not a lot of people seem to remember this, but the Red Wings were not far removed from being the laughingstock of the league until Yzerman got there. He has been through the building of a champion as a player, and trying to sustain excellence in the front office.

How could this beneift the Wings? Easy: if things happen in Detroit that mandate a change, there will be an experienced Yzerman waiting in the, uh, "wings." Detroit has been on top of the NHL for so long that some forget the transitory nature of the game. Due to the system, what goes up usually comes down for at least small periods of time. Montreal, Edmonton, and Colorado are great examples.

If Detroit does have a down cycle, as most teams do, Yzerman will get the best "welcome home" party in the history of the market. Meanwhile, I plan on enjoying his work down here.

How will the NCAA probation affect Michigan?

I am in agreement with many who have posted on this subject. I think the NCAA will either accept the penalties as proposed, or add something like a year of probation just to show UM "who's the boss." Basically, though, it is all posturing. The penalties here will fit the so-called "crime:" relatively insignificant. As for the effects, I think it will all be positive. And we can now take comfort in the fact that, because of all the scrutiny, the University of Michigan now runs the cleanest program in the NCAA.

By August, the uncertainty will be over. Recruits who have been waiting to see what is going on should commit to Michigan. Most of the media shitstorm will have calmed down. Most of all, the players and coaching staff will be as focused as they have had an opportunity to be since RR got to UM.

As I have said before, the Big Ten's worst nightmare is a UM team coached by RR that is fully able to execute his offense. This team is now old enough and big enough to not get pushed around by opponents anymore. They know the offense now, and have had two years with the same DC. Playing so many freshman and sophomores the last two years will now become a major benefit as many grow into juniors, and next year into seniors. They still have a fairly young team, but most of the players have experience beyond their years.

This is the year of the turnaround for RR. I plan to enjoy it.

How will the UM situation affect Misdemeanor State?

Sorry, Sparty, but you had better get your bragging in now while you still can, because you will be singing a different tune by November. Sparty fans still call the UM basketball program "cheaters," more than ten years after the Ed Martin scandal. I would expect them to call the football program "cheaters" for at least the next ten years. Luckily for them, it will take some of the attention away from all of the convicted criminals on their football team.

But it won't take the attention away from losing. And MSU will lose big to UM this year. Let the whining begin. I, for one, will always remind them that NCAA probation is better than having ten percent of your scholarship players on real probation.

How is the media treating Michigan this week?

The national media is treating this as it should; there are exceptions, but the general position is that UM is getting nickle-and-dimed by the NCAA as it tries to throw its weight around. A couple have even gone so far as to mention that the freep did a hatchet job and was wrong.

As for the local media?

Friends (those who are positive or at least objective): Angelique, Wojo, Rothstein, Albom

Enemies: Rosenpuke, Shyster, Sharp, Rob Otto from mlive, Lynn Henning (inadvertantly, I might add), and a new A2 dot com guy named David Jesse.

Trying to stay objective in spite of bias and doing an OK job: Sparty Dave, David Mayo, Huge.

MIA: Philip Zaroo

Why isn't he on the UM beat yet: Andrew Reid

The most disturbing of the locals is the emergence of a new writer at A2 dot com: David Jesse. He cites a nationally-based column which says that UM is "protecting RR," and that the NCAA won't accept the self-imposed penalties. I don't know what A2 dot com is thinking here; they have apparently reined in Sparty Dave a little bit, and now they bring in another "writer" who appears to have an anti-UM bias? What the fuck is Tony Dearing thinking?

I don't think Tony will be en-"Dearing" himself to UM fans anytime soon.

When can I put away my umbrella?

After UM trounces MSU this October to go 6-0, the shitstorm will officially be over.

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