The Wolverine

October 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 57 BY ANDREW KAHN F ans showing up at Yost Ice Arena for their first game of the 2016‑17 season should probably buy a program. More so than a fresh logo at center ice or a return to Nike jerseys, the most startling difference from last year is the roster. Eight players are gone from the team that finished 25‑8‑5 and came within a game of the Frozen Four. Michigan had just three seniors last season, but early departures forced head coach Red Berenson to bring in an 11‑man freshman class. "I thought we'd lose one or two [of the underclassmen], not five," said Berenson, who is back for his 33rd season in Ann Arbor. "I'm not here to hold a kid back from playing in the NHL if there's a good opportunity for him. I don't like to lose a kid that plays in the minors." The prolific "CCM" line of fresh‑ man Kyle Connor and juniors JT Compher and Tyler Motte left school early, as did defensemen Zach We‑ renski, a sophomore, and Michael Downing, a junior. Other than Weren‑ ski, Berenson isn't sure any will play in the NHL this season. That disap‑ points him, especially when guys are one year away from graduating. "NHL teams tell them what they want to hear: 'We've got a spot for you' or 'You've got a good chance at making the team.' I've been around long enough to tell them there's no rush," Berenson said. "I'm going to do it the right way and my way, but I don't think the players are buying into that. The first chance they get, they're gone." The mass exodus puts the pressure on U‑M's returning playmakers and means the coaching staff will lean on at least a few freshmen. With no transcendent star, getting back to the NCAA Tournament this season will NEW LOOK, SAME EXPECTATIONS Can The Fresh-Faced Wolverines Get Back To The NCAA Tournament? HOCKEY PREVIEW Michigan will have several new faces in the lineup this season, but the constant over the last 33 years has been head coach Red Berenson. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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