The Wolverine

October 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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2011-12 hockey preview T By Michael Spath he Michigan hockey team returns its starting goalie, five of its top seven defensemen and nine forwards that combined for 65 of U-M���s 146 goals in 2011-12 (44.5 percent). Head coach Red Berenson has reason to be optimistic this group will continue the program���s tradition of success, contending for the CCHA title this season while making another run at a Frozen Four and a national championship. However, no team is without flaws, especially early in the season. The Wolverine spoke to a pair of college hockey analysts and three conference coaches, on the condition of anonymity, for their opinions on where the Maize and Blue will excel and where they need help. On Michigan���s offense: ���Every year you���re going to lose players, guys that score goals, and every year Michigan reloads. I would expect them to do so this year also, but when you look at who they lost ��� Carl Hagelin, Louie Caporusso and Matt Rust ��� those were their best players for the past two years, and so it���s been very hard for guys underneath them to establish themselves. ���Red has a lot of offensive talent, but I don���t know if there is anyone he can look at and say, ���You���ll be one of Senior forward Dave Wohlberg was second on the team in goals (15) last year, and he tied his career highs for power-play goals (two) and game-winning goals (three). photo by eric bronson/ Sizing ���Em Up Scouts And Opposing Coaches Talk Michigan���s Strengths And Weaknesses our go-to scorers.��� There are so many kids on Michigan that have shown flashes, and you expect two or three to rise up. That���s what kids at that program do, but until they do it, those will be restless nights for their coaches.��� On the Wolverines��� lack of proven centers: ���Caporusso and Rust were their top-two centers, Ben Winnett was a center, and all of those guys are gone. That���s three centers, among four lines, you have to replace. The way Red runs his team, he gives so much responsibility to his centers on both ends of the ice, and I don���t know that he has as many of those dynamic two-way guys as he���s had in the past. ���Of the players he has coming back, the one I like the most is [junior] Kevin Lynch. We saw him in the first half of the year and the second half of the year, and he was two different players. He wasn���t scoring much early, and young kids have a hard time with that, especially when they���re sophomores. They feel like they need to be a bigger part of the team, and they start to measure their contribution on goals, assists, points. But when we saw him in the second half, he had put a few in, and he was really playing with great confidence. ���He���s a little bit different than some of the best centers they���ve had recently. T.J. Hensick, Andrew Cogliano and Louie Caporusso were not real physical types ��� they were unbelievably skilled and quick, but they didn���t play the body. Lynch is a bigger kid [6-1, 198 pounds] and plays with an edginess to his game. Smaller centers don���t want to play against him, and bigger guys can���t move him around. ���His challenge now is to play to his potential for six straight months, whether he���s scoring in bunches or not scoring at all, because that���s what October 2011��� ������ the wolverine��� 57

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