Why he did it I don't know but Rick Comley has invited me to join him on the bench for Saturday night's MSU vs. Michigan hockey game at Munn Arena. I was ordered to wear a coat and tie and report to his office at least 15 minutes before face off. I was told I better not get a bench minor in case I don't like a call on the ice. I can't throw a sieve at the Michigan goalie, Billy Sauer. The ground rules have been set. Also, I cannot "coach", although I think I can only help. It's a big week end against the number one ranked team in the nation. I saw Michigan play Notre Dame last Saturday at the Palace. The Wolverines only have two losses. Clearly they can contend for the national title, but then they won't see a tougher defense than what MSU poses built around stellar goalie Jeff Lerg.
I'm thinking about the Hobey Baker Trophy, college hockey's Heisman award. Jeff Lerg has to be considered a contender. The guy has given up all of three goals in the past four games and he is a three time winner of the CCHA goalie of the week. Ohio State got one goal in two games against him last week end at Columbus. And Lerg gets great help from his defensemen too.
This should be a defensive series. The Spartans really need two wins. They'd like to win the CCHA title for the first time in Comley's six year tenure in East Lansing. Certainly they cannot get swept. I see home and home victories here. Michigan is due to get beat by someone and the Spartans are tough to score on. This is a big hockey week end and it's great the two teams have two more games down the line-- one at Munn and one at Joe Louis Arena.
That's where they last met each other-- last March 16th in the CCHA semi-finals and Michigan won 5-2.